Churchill Review – A Dramatic, Historically Accurate, Expose

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Churchill, from Cohen Media Group and Salon Pictures, brings to the screen dynamic portrayal of the escalating tensions between the allied leaders during the final week before the D-Day Invasion which could be liberation or a bloody slaughter.

 

Directed by Johnathan Teplitzky, Churchill stars Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, George Anton, Steven Cree, Penny Sharp, Julian Wadham, Richard Durden, and Danny Webb. Churchill was written by Alex von Tunzelmann.

Churchill begins with Winston Churchill, played by Brian Cox, walking along the shore line, the dark days of the Nazi invasion are over, here the former Prime Minister of the British Empire was enjoying a walk with his wife, Clementine, played by Miranda Richardson, on the beach.

As he hurried ahead, the memories calling him to the stand on the craggy rocks where the waves crash, slightly, the man, once the most powerful man and champion of the Empire, stands still when a wind gust takes his hat.

While he bends trying to retrieve it, he becomes transfixed in his thoughts as the sea runs red with the slaughter of a previous day. His mind can’t get past that day, a day he knew would result in many deaths, and what he believes is his culpability. The tide again comes in, and in his mind red, from the blood of the allied forces.

Clementine finally catches up with him and coaxes him back to reality and he looks up to see his black bowler bobbing on the waves carried out to sea.

Churchill turns and in an instant, he is back to D-Day, June 6, 1944, when bodies of the brave, courageous, soldiers fighting to free the world from Hitler’s evil, barely made it to shore and lie on the beaches of Normandy.

This is the story of the week leading up to one of the biggest invasions of World War II, in the European theater, when more than one million Allied forces assembled in the South of France ready, in a very narrow window, to free Europe from Nazi rule.

Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, played by John Slattery, Supreme Commander of the Allied D-Day operations, had a very contentious relationship during this week, the younger man Dwight Eisenhower, had mutinously planned an Allied invasion that would potentially liberate France, the last stronghold of the Nazi regime.  The men along with British Military Commander Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery played by Julian Wadham, and King George VI, played by James Purefoy were meeting.

Soon Eisenhower and Churchill were engaged in verbal sparring on the potential of success or failure of the invasion. Churchill, his usual eccentric self, was positive the mission would fall short of the intended goal and in the process become a gruesome massacre for tens of thousands of British sons and as it were the motherland had suffered enough under this damned war.

Operation Overlord, as the Normandy invasion was code named, was the proverbial thorn in Churchill’s side as the day grew closer, and theory was replaced with reality. Churchill with his overbearing, bullying personality cajoled, berated, coaxed, exploded, attempted to circumvent, and prayed, asking God, in his deep, resonating voice to provide the only element out of control of Eisenhower’s plans that could stop the invasion and make it rain,  a deluge, a monsoon, a blinding rain that would wash out Operation Overlord.

The verbal volleys between Churchill and the leaders of the Allied invasions were deep to the baseline, with each hoping the other side would make a miss the return. Churchill, in his eccentricities, expected his opinion to extend further in influence over the American General. It did not and his fear of a slaughter, many of them British, drove him to fight on with the Allied General, hoping for a change in the plans.

Throughout this week, his wife Clementine, remains the pillar of strength in his life, keeping him from alienating everyone and reminding him of his place in history and his duty.

World War II, it seems, has not reached a saturation point, and possibly never will as we see with Churchill. The filmmaker has taken a one week window, leading up to one of the most significant Operations the European Allies ever undertook and exposed the escalations of tensions, the details necessary to stage this type of invasion. The minute and uncontrollable elements so much depended on the grace of God, would the weather hold, would the skies be clear, would a moon provide the significant light and cover, to hide, guide and protect the Allies?

With history written, the ending of course is already recorded and with both men historically credited for the success of the battle and the fears of both were also realized. There is casualty in any war, and clearly none more horrific than the Battles, the great Operations, in World War II.

Churchill is more than a reenactment of history. It reveals details previously not made public or at least not common knowledge even for scholars of the War.  Churchill is a intellectual's film created for the mass and in actuality intended for those with specific interests. The common and current temperament of interest in the Monarch and the early days of the Queens reign may bring in cross over interest.

Churchill is solid. The talented cast doesn’t miss a beat. Brain Cox and John Slattery were embodied their roles. Miranda Richardson undertakes the role of Churchill’s wife, Clementine, and is equally impressive more so she presents the strength of a woman whose role in history has not yet been understood and recognized.

Churchill is well done; well directed and well-acted. A dramatic expose, it is enthralling and presents an historically accurate account of the events leading up to the D-Day invasion.

Churchill will be coming soon to select theaters. See it.