‘Operation Mincemeat’ reviews round-up: Colin Firth’s WW2 drama is ‘seriously classy’

The first reviews for Operation Mincemeat have arrived.

Set in 1943, the new Second World War drama comes from the producers of The King’s Speech.

Operation Mincemeat boasts an amazing cast of British stars, headlined by Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street).

They’re joined by Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey), Alex Jennings (The Crown), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Tom Wilkinson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Kelly Macdonald (Line of Duty), Hattie Morahan (Official Secrets), Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), and the late Paul Ritter (Chernobyl).

Johnny Flynn (Emma) is playing James Bond author and naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming, while Simon Russell Beale (Mary Queen of Scots) is playing Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Based on Ben McIntyre’s best-selling book, the movie is directed by English filmmaker John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).

Watch the trailer:


The official synopsis reads: “The Allies are determined to break Hitler’s grip on occupied Europe, and plan an all-out assault on Sicily; but they face an impossible challenge – how to protect a massive invasion force from potential massacre.

“It falls to two remarkable intelligence officers, Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen), to dream the most inspired and improbable disinformation strategy of the war – centred on the most unlikely of secret agents: a dead man. Operation Mincemeat is the extraordinary and true story of an idea that hoped to alter the course of the war – defying logic, risking countless thousands of lives, and testing the nerves of its creators to breaking point.”

Operation Mincemeat was released in UK cinemas last Friday, and it’ll premiere exclusively on Netflix in the US and the rest of the world in May.

We’ve rounded up a spoiler-free selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the movie:


“A classic tale of British second world war derring-do and the sort of film you’ll watch with your dad on a Sunday afternoon.” – The Spectator


“A far more decorous affair than its macho-burger title would suggest, this is a classy production with a first-rate ensemble cast, splicing the story’s intrigue with a poignant vein of melodrama.” – The Hollywood Reporter


“Wartime London has been recreated in painstaking fashion, and the performances are heartfelt and strong: Ewen is another of Firth’s melancholy English everyman heroes, a decent, selfless figure, wary of his own emotions; Macfadyen’s Charles is a complex and conflicted figure, prey to jealousy and capable of duplicity, but he shares Montagu’s patriotism and quiet heroism.” ★★★ – iNews


“…if you’re on the hunt for a diverting slice of prestige espionage hokum that comes with a side helping of real history, Operation Mincemeat is a satisfying night at the pictures.” ★★★ – Time Out


“John Madden’s film nicely balances the ongoing grief and trauma of a brutal war with rich period details and even a modest sense of fun … Though occasionally undone by its Sunday-teatime tendencies, this is a spirited and gently entertaining slice of wartime espionage, with sharp, wry performances from the ensemble cast.” ★★★ – Empire


“…the star-studded film, which at times seems to have employed just about every character actor on British Equity’s books, is seriously classy.” ★★★★ – Daily Mail


“The pleasures of Operation Mincemeat largely lie in the intricate procedural mechanics of the deception itself … Working from a non-fiction book by Ben Macintyre, Ashford’s script is pleasingly detail-oriented and lightly droll on that front. It’s a shame, then, that the secondary human drama surrounding the mission feels comparatively contrived and perfunctory.” – Variety


“A quality cast tackle the script’s various twists and turns with aplomb. But the tale itself feels cumbersome and over-furnished, listing under the weight of its bolt-on subplots and endless reams of dialogue.” ★★ – The Guardian


“Matthew Macfadyen steals the show in a pacey war thriller.” ★★★★ – The Times


Operation Mincemeat is in UK cinemas now.

Ben McIntyre’s book Operation Mincemeat is available on Amazon.