Rated: PG for thematic elements, brief war images, historical smoking throughout, and some language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: June 2, 2017 Released by: Cohen Media Group
Hardly a gripping snapshot wartime biopic despite Brian Cox's blustery, if delicate way in the eponymous role set in the days before 1944s crucial Operation Overlord could draw in educators and history buffs.
Churchill, besides the estimable septuagenarian Scottish actor of L.I.E., 25th Hour and The Bourne Identity, co-stars Miranda Richardson and John Slattery.
The framing device from the director of another chamber piece The Railway Man includes strolling along a beach with harrowing, surreal imagery that imbues the mind of the famed British Prime Minister and statesman. The speculative screenplay figures what plagues the mission from the cigar-chomping chap's point of view though in fact he was behind it before its deployment. Which would lead to many lives lost in France (starting with the Normandy invasion) and elsewhere on the European Front before the Nazis surrender less than a year later.
The political strategy and mindsets of various leaders like King George VI (James Purefoy) are on display and many logistical figures are spewed out as Slattery's unyielding Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower tells Sir Winston that he's reliving the 'Great War' as recollection of 56,000 Brits lost on the battlefield back in 1915 at Gallipoli leads to ornery, childish behavior.
The dichotomy of Cox's portraiture is something that could benefit certain folks in very high, responsible positions as the internal conflict and extroversion plays out to some degree as a character study. Even if the size of what it entails isn't really in sync with the premise. Perhaps a better approach would have to center more on Churchill's personal life amidst the behind-the-scenes war room proceedings. Especially when scenes with Miranda Richardson as patient, ego-stroking wife Clemmie have more appeal than what occasionally flashes of billows of smoke and silhouettes.