The Backrooms of War: Our Review of ‘Churchill’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - December 03, 2017
The Backrooms of War: Our Review of ‘Churchill’

The war on the battlefield comes home more often than we ever care to admit…

Churchill takes us into the later days of the Second World War with so much at stake and uncertainty in the air as once fabled hero of WWI is trying to lead his nation but not from where he’d necessarily like to be.

 

It’s June 1944. Allied Forces stand on the brink: a million soldiers are secretly assembled on the south coast of Britain, poised to invade Nazi-occupied Europe but one man stands in their way: Winston Churchill (Brian Cox).   He’s terrified about seeing the mass slaughter of 1915, when over 500,000 soldiers were killed on the beaches of Gallipoli under his command.   Years of war and severe bouts of depression have taken their toll on Churchill who is a shadow of the hero that the nation adores him for being.   Should the D-Day landings fail, he is terrified he’ll be remembered as the architect of an unspeakable carnage.  Only through the stalwart support of Churchill’s brilliant wife Clementine (Miranda Richardson) can the Prime Minister find away to lead his people again and stop the physical and mental collapse brought on by  simply not knowing what to do, and who to trust.

Granted World War II bio pics have been done to death, but Churchill manages to hinge itself into the positive column thanks to one hell of a performance from stalwart character actor Brian Cox.

 

While it’s not a particularly crisp or even historically accurate narrative the script from Alex von Tunselmann trundles on as more of a character study lifted from a one act play then one from a feature film.  Director Jonathan Teplitzky is competent enough and crafts a very good looking film but anytime the focus shifts away Churchill as a character the film just gets more than a little drab.  We get the importance and the gravitas of the moments that these characters are living through but outside of Churchill himself the emotion just isn’t there.

That being said Brian Cox is his unquestionably masterful self as Churchill in his later years.  Cox brings a genuine manic energy to the role as we see the fragility of the man in the face of some impossible odds and we feel for him when he’s at his weakest but revel in his triumphs at the same time because much like the very nation that he was leading, we need him to succeed…at least this movie does.  Sadly after Cox and his firebrand performance, no one in the ensemble really gets any chances to shine as the material lets them down.  Miranda Richardson as Churchill’s ever stalwart wife doesn’t get a lot of room to move while John Slattery as Dwight Eisenhower is more or less just standing around for the entire affair.

 

Ultimately this is a very good character study or even play where you can feel the lead actor take up all the air in the room, but here in Churchill it ends up falling flat as it needed a little more to elevate to the emotional levels that it was hoping for.

Churchill is now available on DVD and VOD from all major retailers and providers.

This post was written by

David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.