‘Churchill’ follows the past UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, in the three days leading up to D-Day in 1944. This is the first of two British films to be released this year with somewhat of a focus on the celebrated Briton. Brian Cox is the man charged with portraying Churchill this time round but could the film do any justice to such a revered man?
Cox certainly gives it his all with a very strong performance in the leading role. He really does seem like the character he is portraying. It’s clear to see that he’s given the role the much needed attention it required. The portrayal of Churchill is one many audiences might not be familiar with. Often he’s presented as more of a hindrance than a help to the war effort. This wasn’t the type of man I had thought Churchill was, so this unusual presentation of the figure was interesting if nothing else. Cox carries off this portrayal incredibly well as viewers will be able to feel every ounce of his frustration. I thought many of the supporting cast were just fine. Few get the opportunity to be more than this anyway. There was a range of quality throughout the performances but for the most part the cast as a whole were effective.
The narrative is made up almost entirely of conversations & meetings between political, military & royal leaders. This isn’t a war film that sees much action, instead it shows the battles fought at home. This will be rather dull for many audience members, myself included. Despite some of these isolated scenes the story as a whole failed to grip me and therefore the relatively short running time felt much longer than it actually was. Generally war films also keep me engaged through the heightened levels of emotion running through their narratives. however there was a severe lack of this here. I suppose this is to be expected due to the nature of the film but it needed something to engage viewers and connecting on an emotional level would have been incredibly helpful in doing so. Some scenes were going in the right direction and had potential but these moments never fully developed the tone into anything particularly moving.
The only thing you might me particularly moved to do is leave the cinema. Unfortunately ‘Churchill’ just won’t appeal to mass audiences without a specific interest in this period of history or the titular individual. Even at that I wouldn’t be surprised if these viewers struggled with the dull narrative and lack of engagement the film offers. Cox saves the film from being a complete write off. The intriguing insight into Churchill’s final days leading the UK through the war also offers something of interest. However, these few positives aren’t enough to warrant a recommendation.
Rating – 5/10
Question: What is your favourite Brian Cox performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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