Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare mixes action and comedy

Acclaimed director Guy Ritchie continues churning content as his latest film, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” from Lionsgate, hits theaters. Ritchie, along with Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Arash Amel, co-writes the screenplay, which is an adaptation of Damien Lewis’ book “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill’s Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops.”

While the film is a heavily fictionalized version of Operation Postmaster, it is partly based on actual historical events. The main film’s storyline covers Special Operations Executive, a covert British World War II organization formed in 1940 at the instigation of Prime Minister Winston Churchill for conducting espionage and sabotage in Nazi-occupied Europe. SOE operations contributed significantly to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and were forerunners of modern-day black operations and irregular warfare.

Gus, portrayed by Henry Cavill, is in charge of a team with several members. Freddy Alvarez (played by Henry Golding) is an explosives expert, Henry Hayes (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) is an experienced sailor, Anders Lassen (Alan Ritchson) is a former hunter and current soldier, and Geoffrey Appleyard (Alex Pettyfer) is the strategic mastermind whom Gus trusts implicitly. Marjorie Steward (Eiza González) and Mr. Heron (Babs Olusanmokun) support the team’s efforts. Each member of the extensive ensemble plays a significant role within the mission’s framework, and their contributions are indispensable to its execution.

The hook of the film is Nazi’s dying, and it happens pretty often in the movie. I wish the film had leaned more into the action-comedy elements. The film features a complex assembly of components that may initially seem overwhelming. Central to the narrative is Cavill’s team, dedicated to thwarting Nazi forces, which alone could provide ample thrill. However, additional layers are added as González and Olusanmokun explore separate plot lines that only tangentially intersect with Cavill’s group through the discontent among British leadership figures managed by Brigadier Gubbins’ M’ (portrayed by Cary Elwes) and Ian Fleming (played by Freddie Fox).

These multifaceted storylines are intricately interlaced, potentially elevating the complexity beyond typical audience expectations. Despite this complexity, the film captivates with its dynamic action sequences, infused with intelligent humor and poignant moments that render it an unforgettable cinematic experience. The palpable chemistry among the cast adds a profound layer of engagement; each actor delivers their role with considerable depth and nuance.

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is an essential viewing experience that brings a novel perspective on World War II’s pivotal events while honoring the lesser-known heroes who significantly influenced history. With its adept scriptwriting, compelling performances, and sophisticated direction, this movie promises entertainment and educational enrichment to its audiences.

Final Grade: B

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” opens in theaters today

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