It is three days before the launch of D-Day. The allies stand ready to mount the largest ever land invasion of the world war two but storm clouds are gathering in the diffident shape of England’s prime minister, Winston Churchill. Haunted by a bloody past and steadied by a succession of brandies, Brian Cox plays Churchill as a man riddled with bombast and doubt.
Haunted by a bloody past and steadied by a succession of brandies, Brian Cox plays Churchill as a man riddled with bombast and doubt.
As the eponymous war-time leader Cox’s performance certainly manages to capture the spirit of the man, if not his appearance. Miranda Richardson also excels (and nearly outshines her lead) as Churchill’s wife Clementine. Further aided by a finely judged cameo by James Purefoy as a speech impedimented King Edward V, this ’Churchill’ movie has a lot acting pedigree to call upon. However where it stutters and falls as a piece of cinema, is in its stage-play dialogue and clear budgetary limitations. Where ’Churchill’ would have worked well as a primetime Sunday night drama, as a full-blooded feature film it does not.
For a more telling glimpse of the great man and the demons that swirled around his amber tumbler, you might wait for Joe Wright’s ’The Darkest Hour’ with Gary Oldman in the lead role. Whilst worthy in its intention and execution, this ‘Churchill’ lacks the poetic eye and dialogue that so marked out 2007’s ‘Atonement’ as a veritable movie visit worth making.