The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | ‘The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ kept me captivated

Director Guy Ritchie returned with a new WWII story in his latest film, released April 19.
Cody Blissett
A projector runs during the premiere of The Daily Iowan Documentary Workshop’s feature film, Lost In The In-between: Graduating Into 2020, at the Chauncey at FilmScene in Iowa City on Thursday, May 4, 2023. The film follows five Iowa graduates as they find their place in the world post graduation during a global pandemic.

Guy Ritchie, the mind behind “The Gentlemen,” returned with another soon-to-be classic war flick, collaborating with “Top Gun” producer Jerry Bruckheimer to bring “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” to the big screen.

The film, released on April 19, features a star-studded cast, including Henry Cavill, Alex Pettyfer, Eiza González of “Baby Driver,” Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and many more famous faces.

Based on a true story, the movie delves into the first special forces organization formed during World War II by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Made up of rogues and rebels, they agreed to take on a top-secret mission titled Operation Postmaster to help them win the war.

Though the film was a highly fictionalized account of these events, it was successful in fostering the overall mission as its focus instead of going off-script with unrealistic, Bond-style kills.

Although I’m not a history buff, I would say this film was effective in showcasing this specific WWII event; the film’s script was as poetic as it was digestible.

What made the film even more interesting was the secrecy of the mission, giving the film a spy movie-like texture.

One motif I noticed throughout the film was founder of the special forces organization Gustavus Henry March-Phillipps’ fascination with coats. He kept mentioning that he wanted one throughout the beginning of the movie, and I found it interesting that he chose to take a uniform from a Gestapo officer that he murdered.

He hated Adolf Hitler, so to flaunt Nazi pride like that while using it as an advantage against them illustrated his character’s unpredictability.

I also appreciated that the film was very eye-catching in terms of color. The saturation was used well especially during the party scene, so much so I was left wondering how nice it would have been to have attended it — a challenging feat considering the party was a life-or-death mission to keep the Nazis at bay.

RELATED: Review | ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ redefines queer physicality

A scene that I found the most intriguing was the way one of the members of the team, Marjorie Stewart, played by Gonzalez, slipped up by singing a song in Yiddish instead of German to the main Nazi soldier she was seducing for information. What made things worse was that she didn’t even notice.

The shots kept panning from the leader’s face to Gonzalez and, as his smile faded upon hearing the Yiddish, it did not hit me that he realized her scheme until the very moment that he said: “We’ve caught ourselves a little Jew.”

I do not know German, so these English subtitles made the scene all the more poignant.

In terms of historical context, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” enlightened me to an aspect of World War II that I was not previously aware of. The film is now playing in theatres.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Isabelle Lubguban
Isabelle Lubguban, Arts Reporter
Isabelle Lubguban is a third-year student at the University of Iowa. She is majoring in English with a concentration of Creative Writing. This is her first year at the Daily Iowan as an Arts Reporter, and she enjoys doing photo and video editing in her free time.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.