Wars are not simply won by soldiers. Indeed, most are lost by bad leaders. The position of leadership comes with many roles and responsibilities. There are those who lead from the front and there are those who orchestrate things from behind the scenes. Arguably the greatest and most important leader in (certainly modern) British history was Winston Churchill. Undoubtedly the most pivotal moment of World War II was Operation Overlord. In Jonathan Teplitzky’s film Churchill he charts the days leading up to the D-Day landings.
Winston Churchill; (Brian Cox) is feeling tired and weary. The years of war have taken a heavy toll on his health. The beleaguered Prime Minister is getting increasingly apprehensive as the day of the Normandy landings approaches. He’s afraid that we’ll be repeating the tragic mistakes of World War I and becomes increasingly irascible and petulant towards General Eisenhower (John Slattery) and Field Marshall Montgomery (Julian Wadham). His wife Clemmie (Miranda Richardson) and close friend and confidante Field Marshall Smuts (Richard Durden) resolutely try to steer him on the right path.
Churchill is a character study of a great man who has lost his way. Brian Cox is superb in the role, embodying all his foibles, anxieties and ego. The decision to document a historic occasion from an unusual angle pays off, even though using a new secretary (Ella Purnell) as his conscience feels rather contrived. We’re accustomed to learning historical fact without any insight into the minutiae which takes place behind the scenes. Churchill is a fascinating drama and a snapshot about a pivotal moment in history.
Churchill was released on DVD & Blu-Ray by Lionsgate UK on 16 October.