MOVIE REVIEW: Brian Cox excels with his portrayal of 'grumpy, grunting' Churchill
EVEN from just the outline of his frame, complete with hat and walking cane, you know you're looking at Winston Churchill.
Australian director Jonathan Teplitzky helms an intimate portrait of the British leader set in his later years during the days leading up to the D-Day invasion of France.
This is not a look at the great leader in his prime. Instead, it's an examination of an aging prime minister who feels sidelined as the Americans push what, as we all know, turns out to be a momentous turning point in the Second World War.
Brian Cox is outstanding as the grumpy, grunting Churchill, who blows cigar smoke out of his nostrils like a bull at the gates.
Like his assistants, and his long-suffering wife Clementine played brilliantly by Miranda Richardson, you wax and wane as a viewer between feeling empathy for a man struggling to keep hold of his relevance, and frustration at his bullish approach.
There's no action as such. It's only hinted at in conversation as the camera follows Churchill and the military leaders tasked with the responsibility of sending young men to their deaths - something that keeps Churchill up at night.
Churchill fervently opposes Operation Overlord, after seeing so many failed beach landings in past wars. But his warnings are more of a nuisance than anything else to the top brass of the American and British armed forces who have spent months planning the assault on Normandy.
Despite knowing the outcome of D-Day, there's plenty of tension as Churchill and the weather nearly throw the operation off course.
The photography in this film is absolutely stunning and in the many quieter moments the composition of each frame can really be appreciated.
This film doesn't have a lot of action or plot for that matter, and could have been a tad shorter, so you really have to have an interest in the man to get the most out of it.
Churchill is a finely made and finely acted period piece worth seeing for Cox's performance alone.
Churchill opens in cinemas on Thursday, June 8.
Stars: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, Ella Purnell, Richard Durden.
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Verdict: 3.5/5 stars