The first of two films about Winston Churchill this year decides to focus on the 3 days leading up to D-Day and takes a very human approach to its character.
I have to say I found the focus initially disorienting as this film is not about the decisive leader and greatest Briton who led us through the war. This is a film about a war veteran frozen with guilt and fear in the face of General Eisenhower (John Slattery) and Montgomery’s (Julian Wadham) plans for the invasion of France. The film opens with Churchill on a beach having flashbacks to the horror of Gallipoli, a campaign he feels responsible for and sees him rallying against the plans for the D-Day landings as not being enough. The idea being to show us all how human this man was.
Brian Cox steals the show of course, excellent as ever and succeeding in showing the humanity in an iconic figure. The film probably at its best when he is sharing the screen with Miranda Richardson as his wife Clementine and James Purefoy as King George VI. Both able to stand up against this man in their own way and steer him towards his duty.
Overall though, it lacks punch aside from a stand out lead role.