The film portrays the biggest espionage coup of the Second World War and stars Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, among others.
Even the most ardent film fans may be surprised that The Soldier Who Wasn’t Was released in 2022. Although stars like Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen were involved , almost no one had this elegant John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) war film on their radar. In Brazil, you can only watch The Soldier Who Didn’t Exist on Netflix.
WHAT IS THE PLOT OF THE SOLDIER THAT DIDN’T EXIST?
The year is 1943: the Allies want to reconquer the European continent from the Nazis. The starting point must be Sicily. But in order to be able to successfully land there with their own troops, it would be advantageous if the Germans transferred most of their units stationed there first. In other words, German generals would have to be led to believe that an Allied attack was not imminent on Sicily.
Lieutenant Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen) already has an idea for this: a corpse with false war plans pointing to an invasion far from Sicily must be dropped on France. If the Germans found the body, they would believe that the confidential documents had come to them by chance. But the proposal is initially rejected. Until, a few months later, Navy intelligence officer Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and his team decide to put it into practice…
AN EYE FOR DETAILS
Operation Mincemeat – original title – is not a revolutionary film, but a competent one. A tasteful spy drama that deserves a strong three stars, at the very least – with the tasteful description being understood here as both praise and criticism.
The great strength of John Madden’s direction is to involve the public in the complex organization of the plan and focus attention on the importance of details that, in reality, are insignificant. Whenever everything has to be meticulously structured, even if the chances of success – also due to all the unpredictability that simply cannot be calculated – are close to zero, The Soldier Who Didn’t Exist can be quite captivating.
In addition to several really moving moments, The Soldier Who Didn’t Exist also has some problems. There’s some weak narration by Johnny Flynn (who plays Bond creator Ian Fleming, who was actually there at the time), as well as a superfluous love triangle between Firth, Macfadyen and Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), which can be seen here in the role of Jean Leslie. Whenever the film strays from its real story, The Soldier Who Didn’t Exist is, unfortunately, slippery and too well-behaved.
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