I’m never entirely sure who our favourite heroes are, when it comes to being British. After all most people seem to think the suavest of English heroes in one J Bond should be played by an unashamedly nationalistic Scot in Sean Connery. Plucky underdog, maybe? Worthy if misunderstood. You can’t be clever, rich and brave. That Ironman chappie, fr’instance would never pass the focus groups.
And there must be flaws and suppressed emotions if any of the characters are (a) men and (b) refighting WW2.
Operation Mincemeat panders to all stereotypes in a rather formulaic way for what is a terrific story. That’s possibly because such action as there is either involves a corpse, is in Spain and Italy or in the gloomy passages of blackout London and these moments are of the heaving chest sort.
If you’ve not caught the plot, essentially this is about a bonkers idea to try and convince German High Command that the first sea based landing onto Continental Europe will be in Greece not Sicily. To do that a fictitious officer will be washed up in northern Spain ostensibly carrying the top secret plans for a Grecian invasion which will fool the Germans.
It’s not a plot spolier to say it worked. The question is: does the film.
Yes, largely. Understandably given this is a war movie where the protagonists are of the boffinly sort, spending their lives in Smokey offices and gloomy clubs, the focus is on the way in which spending your life creating complex fictitious worlds spills over into personal lives. At one point one character bemoans he is surrounded. ‘By Germans?’ ‘No, writers,’ he bewails. Everyone is at it.
To stop this being a lot about getting the dead body to Spain and waiting, the script writer throws in a bit of a love triangle, a dodgy brother, a set of cameos by one Ian Fleming who acts as narrator and occasionally one of the irritating writers penning some early Bond ideas. The Spanish scenes tend to be a little Pythonesque and towards the end a carrot of some sort of German complicity is dangled which may be true but seems at odds with the rest of the film.
However, it is such a great story and the acting so good that these are little bits of grit in the shoe compared to the romping story itself. If you don’t mind yet another ‘the boys done good’ version of WW2, you can believe Colin Firth is still a heartthrob at seven score or whatever he’s now and hope there are still as many daft weirdos doing service on our behalves as there were in the 1940s, give this a go. I think it’s on Netflix though we braved our local picturehouse, which, sadly, given this film is only just out, was less than half full.
Cue cat, dog and tortoise pics…