Is it a classic?

Talk about good timing, it’s almost as if the film distributors knew to release a film about the most respected British Prime Minister during a week when we don’t even have one. This week in film is CHURCHILL…

CHURCHILL (Cert PG, 105 mins, Dir. Jonathan Teplitzky)

For a subject matter that makes most Brits stand to attention and get teary eyed with pride, it’s a real shame that this true-life drama is complete drivel. The worst part? We all knew it would be, it didn’t look like it would be anything else. I wanted it to be good, but I was right - it wasn’t. Director Jonathan Teplitzsky (The Railway Man, Broadchurch) is used to taking on the most British of British materials, and this case being no different. In fact, this is the first of two films about Churchill’s life being released this year, only just beating Joe Wright’s forthcoming Darkest Hour (starring Gary Oldman as the eponymous hero) to the post, never mind all of the other incarnations of the WWII PM that we have seen portrayed over the years. But, alas, this will not be the definitive Churchill film. This is one that won’t be remembered. There is nothing particularly awful about this film, it doesn’t offend the senses - it is simply so nondescript and by-the-books that there really is no reason to watch it. Teplitzky ventures to do absolutely zero interesting things with the material at his fingertips, which in this reviewer’s opinion is even worse. If a film is bad it’s often because it has tried something interesting and failed. Not this one, this didn’t even try in the first place. It’s everything you expect it to be, that is of course, if your expectations are on the floor. 

The only saving grace of CHURCHILL would be Brian Cox’s performance, an incredibly realistic and evidently well researched portrayal, focusing heavily on small details and character traits that may not have been known to joe public. But, when this performance is surrounded by other wooden, stiff-upper-lip, over-annunciated RP accented Brits, it’s hard to get involved. 

If my thoughts aren’t already clear, let me summarise - you will gain nothing from watching this film that you couldn’t get from a pisshead scribbling the life of Churchill onto a bar napkin. This film shouldn’t be a film, it’s an audiobook of people in rooms talking that just happens to have a camera in one corner, and what they’re saying we’ve heard a thousand times before. Take my advice and do something else with you 1hr40mins, because you won’t get it back. 

Review by Dan Ollerhead

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