Churchill, 25th June 2017
I am a sucker for screen portrayals of Churchill. I didn’t really get on with The Crown last year on NetFlix but John Lithgow was on the money as the great man. And the past performances from the likes of Brendan Gleeson, Timothy Spall, Michael Gambon, Albert Finney and obviously Robert Hardy all live in the memory. Obviously “the greatest ever Briton” was a barrel of contradictions but the mythology runs very deep in my and prior generations.
We have Gary Oldman to come in the Darkest Hour later in the year directed by Joe Wright (recently expertly pulling the strings in the Young Vic’s Life of Galileo Life of Galileo at the Young Vic review ****). And here the Brian Cox took on the role in this eponymous film directed by Jonathan Teplitzky with Miranda Richardson alongside him as wife Clementine. The film deals with the few days leading up to the D Day landings (Operation Overlord) and focuses on Churchill’s seeming reluctance to embrace the plans (explained by the horror of Gallipoli in the WWI). The screenplay and performances do a good job of showing why he was opposed to the operation but there isn’t really much in the way of plot beyond that.
It is all a bit ponderous I am afraid with Cox barking out the majority of his lines and an awful lot of him looking morosely into the distance. It s hard to actively dislike and the two leads try their best with what they given but it just doesn’t really have enough bite or depth.
Never mind. They’ll be plenty more Churchill’s to come.