Churchill (2017)

  • Time: 98 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | History
  • Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
  • Cast: Brian Cox, John Slattery, Miranda Richardso

Storyline:

June 1944. Allied Forces stand on the brink: a massive army is secretly assembled on the south coast of Britain, poised to re-take Nazi-occupied Europe. One man stands in their way: Winston Churchill. Behind the iconic figure and rousing speeches: a man who has faced political ridicule, military failure and a speech impediment. An impulsive, sometimes bullying personality – fearful, obsessive and hurting. Fearful of repeating, on his disastrous command, the mass slaughter of 1915, when hundreds of thousands of young men were cut down on the beaches of Gallipoli. Obsessed with fulfilling historical greatness: his destiny. Exhausted by years of war and plagued by depression, Churchill is a shadow of the hero who has resisted Hitler’s Blitzkrieg. Should the D-Day landings fail, he is terrified he’ll be remembered as an architect of carnage. Political opponents sharpen their knives. General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery are increasingly frustrated by Churchill’s attempts to stop the invasion. King George VI must intervene. Only the support of Churchill’s brilliant, yet exasperated wife Clementine can halt the Prime Minister’s physical and mental collapse. The untold story of Britain’s most celebrated leader, uncovering the true nature of Churchill’s herculean war-time status and his vital relationship with “Clemmie” – his backbone and total confidant…the love that inspired him to greatness.

One review

  • “We will bore them on the beaches”.

    “Churchill” tells the story of the great leader’s extreme opposition to “Operation Overlord”, the Eisenhower-led invasion of Normandy in 1944 that ultimately led – more by luck that judgement perhaps – to the fall of the Third Reich in the following year.

    I’m not a historian but am married to one, so know the importance of “sources” in the pursuit of “truth”: one man’s terrorist is after all another man’s freedom fighter from a different perspective. Some sources on the internet certainly suggest the The British (led by Churchill as Prime Minister) might have sensibly promoted the acceleration of the Italian campaign to reach Berlin rather than the far riskier Channel crossing.

    This film however paints Churchill as a man demonised by his decision to send young men to their deaths in the fateful Gallipoli beach landings of World War One, with this – rather than a sensible strategic one – being the primary reason for opposing the Normandy landings. To further paint him as a bumbling old fool that is “worked around” by his peers strikes you as borderline libellous.

    So the film’s script, by novice Alex von Tunzelmann, immediately set the wrong tone with me, and the undeniably strong performances of Brian Cox (“The Bourne Identity”) as Churchill and the wonderful Miranda Richardson (“Harry Potter” and the soon to be released “Stronger”) as Clemmie can’t fill the gap.

    Besides anything else, diretor Jonathan Teplitzky (“The Railway Man”) delivers a piece so dull and lifeless, and with so much brooding, that its not remotely enjoyable. You think the introduction of a bullied secretary – Ms Garrett (Ella Purnell) – with a strong personal connection to ‘Overlord’ will add dramatic colour? But this angle too seems to go nowhere in particular.

    There are many tales of the Normandy landings that are fascinating, over and above the dramatic sweep of “The Longest Day” (which is surely well overdue for a remake?) and Spielberg’s fictionalisation of the Niland brothers in “Saving Private Ryan”. How about the 2 out of 29 American amphibious tanks that reached Omaha beach after ignoring British advice to not launch so far from shore in rough seas?

    So, as a film, it might be “worthy”. But I didn’t remotely believe the depiction of Churchill and it astonished me that such a rivetingly exciting period of British history could deliver a film that bored me. So, sorry, can’t recommend this one. Perhaps Joe Wright will have a better go with Gary Oldman as Churchill in “Darkest Hour”…

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