OUT 16 JUNE
W ith The Crown’s John Lithgow fresh in the mind and Gary Oldman’s Darkest Hour due later this year, our screens are hardly bereft of Winston Churchills at the moment. If anything, though, Brian Cox is a better physical match than either, his imposing bulk making him ideally suited to playing the legendary prime minister who led Britain to victory in World War 2.
The burly Scot puffs a mean cigar too in a selective biopic from Jonathan Teplitzky ( The Railway Man) that focuses exclusively on the build-up to D-Day in June 1944. The way historian-turned-screenwriter Alex von Tunzelmann tells it, the iconic leader had serious misgivings about the audacious operation, full of dread that the invasion of France would result in another Gallipoli, the disastrous WW1 offensive that he had masterminded while he was the political head of the Royal Navy. The drama in Churchill, then, lies in whether Winston will continue to hold out or give in to pressure from US general Eisenhower (John Slattery) and Field Marshal ‘Monty’ Montgomery (Julian Wadman), both of whom were eager to get Operation Overlord started.
If you’re after epic battle sequences, best hold out for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. But if you’re in the mood for a thoughtful character study, then Churchill certainly fits the bill, not least thanks to Miranda Richardson’s compassionate turn as Winston’s loyal wife Clemmie. Neil Smith
Before any fighting on beaches could be done, finding a lighter was a priority…