The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024): Movie review

Bramwel Oloo
Bramwel Oloo

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is a 2024 spy action comedy film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Guy Ritchie.

The film boasts a star-studded cast including Henry Cavill, Eiza González, Alan Ritchson, Henry Golding, and Alex Pettyfer.

It is based on Damien Lewis’s 2014 book “Churchill’s Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII,” presenting a heavily fictionalized take on the real-life Operation Postmaster.

The film premiered in New York on April 13, 2024, and hit theaters across the United States on April 19, 2024.

The Plot

In late 1941, at the height of the World War 2, the United Kingdom is struggling to halt Nazi Germany’s attempts to take over Europe, with London regularly suffering bombing runs at the hands of the Luftwaffe.

The story revolves around a secretive special-ops team sanctioned by Winston Churchill himself, portrayed by an unrecognizable Rory Kinnear.

This elite group, whose existence remained classified for decades, operated under the leadership of Gus March-Phillipps, played by Henry Cavill. March-Phillipps, a bad-attitude agent, had to be sprung from military prison to lead the mission.

Operation Postmaster was critical in the war effort, targeting the supply chain that supported Germany’s U-boats. These submarines were a significant threat, contributing to keeping the US out of the war.

March-Phillipps and his team were tasked with blowing up a supply vessel, a mission fraught with danger and immense odds. The British government would disavow them if caught, and the Germans would certainly torture and kill them.

The central team includes notable actors such as Henry Golding, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Alex Pettyfer. They receive support from a female spy, played by Eiza González, whose role involves seducing and distracting the German commander, portrayed by Til Schweiger.

Additionally, Babs Olusanmokun plays a resourceful businessman operating from the port on the Spanish island Fernando Po, where the target vessel is docked.

Facts Vs fiction

From the opening sequence, Guy Ritchie taps into the tried-and-true narrative of killing Nazis during World War II.

This approach doesn’t require much justification, aligning with a long tradition of films about dangerous wartime assignments. As with many such movies, the plans often go awry, necessitating quick thinking and improvisation.

However, the film occasionally strays from its gritty historical roots, leaning more towards the blockbuster style synonymous with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Ritchie’s dynamic direction. This shift sometimes detracts from the film’s potential historical depth.

The closing credits offer a clearer glimpse of the real events, leaving audiences wishing for a bit less embellishment and a bit more authenticity.

Despite this, viewers can still enjoy the movie for its glamorous cast and the blend of caper and high-octane action. It offers a thrilling, albeit exaggerated, ride through a lesser-known chapter of World War II history.

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