A man under pressure. When the Allies begin to embark upon defending the Western Front from Nazi Germany CHURCHILL paints the Prime Minister of Great Britain amidst his private thoughts and feelings as opposed to his policies and public image. Fantastic actor Brian Cox depicts an engaging and intriguing character supported by his wife played by the eternally beautiful and equally brilliant Miranda Richardson. Some of the scenarios played out may not be according to conventional history books, but it is precisely this interpretation which makes CHURCHILL so interesting.
Before the film’s opening, the British Board of Film Classification cautions the audience of a parental guidance film certificate stating:
“Shows scenes of smoking”.
The image of Churchill was always of a portly man of bulldog spirit with his cigar. But this is where CHURCHILL departs from our expectations and instead we see an elder statesmen with towering wisdom from his experiences in battle from World War One and from his decisions during the battle of Gallipoli. Humility and compassion are etched into Brian Cox’s contoured face and this runs into conflict with the military and General Dwight D Eisenhower’s start of American interventionism. And it is exactly this lack of human touch that has allowed President George W Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair get it spectacularly wrong in the Middle east without any repercussions to them personally but huge human loss on both sides of the fence. Even during President Dwight D Eisenhower’s farewell address speech in 1959, he warns the World about guarding against the might of a military industrial complex. As I was watching CHURCHILL, I couldn’t help wondering whether we in Britain are growing tired of corporate sanitised puppet leaders advised by the likes of dreadful spin doctors for the benefits of the needs of big business to the detriment of the ordinary majority. Hence the current rise of a conviction politician like Jeremy Corbyn. Some may not know that Churchill was originally a Liberal before joining the Conservatives in the 1920s. What this film really boils down to is that if compassion and humility are relegated to a brief few days over Christmas and otherwise regarded as weakness, then what is the purpose of an elected representative? It is this responsibility that is at the forefront of this depiction of Prime Minister Churchill and that gives him depth to an audience. By the end of the film we are informed that Sir Winston Churchill is regarded as the greatest of Britons. As an arts lover, I would have opted for Shakespeare, Dickens, Lennon or Chaplin. But having seen this version in CHURCHILL, you better believe it! A must see for everyone within our shores.
WHO KILLED BRITISH CINEMA? Book Part 1 and film out soon.