This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over just a few pivotal days during the Second World War. It's skilfully written and directed, and anchored by a wonderfully layered performance by Brian Cox. But there's a nagging sense that there's nothing new to see here, mainly because this is such a well-documented and dramatised point in history.
The story takes place over the first few days of June 1944, as the Allied military leaders make final preparations for the D-Day invasion. Due to his lingering trauma over his experiences in WWI, Winston Churchill (Cox) has serious misgivings about the plan, and challenges both the American commander Eisenhower (John Slattery) and senior British officer Montgomery (Julian Wadham). He even makes an appeal to King George (James Purefoy) to intervene. The problem is that he is coming across as a cranky man stuck in the old world, unable to see how warfare has changed in the previous 30 years and reluctant to relinquish control to the next generation. His wife Clementine (Miranda Richardson) is also becoming fed up with his ranting and raving, so she sets about trying to make him see reason.
Director Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man) tells this story in a style similar to The King's Speech, a more revelatory true-life drama that fictionalises backstage conversations. This is an artfully made film, beautifully shot and edited. And Alex von Tunzelmann's script digs deeply into the characters and themes. So it's a bit frustrating that it's impossible to watch the movie without knowing full well whose argument wins the day and how the events will play out. At least the actors make the most of their roles. Cox delivers an awards-worthy performance as a veteran fighter struggling to remain on the sidelines as the battle approaches, continually adding emotional weight to Churchill's towering tirades. Richardson is limited to a series of isolated scenes, but shines as she takes him on.
Continue reading: Churchill Review
It's June 1944 and the war has been waging for five long years. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wants to end it once and for all, but the last thing he would ever do is surrender as a nation. Despite the fact that the allied forced are standing at the coast ready for the orders to invade Normandy and take back the parts of Europe that Nazi Germany has taken over, Churchill doesn't want to rush in until he's certain they have the best chance of success. Naturally, the allied military leaders General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery are becoming frustrated with the man's fear of failure - for it is only that that stands in the way of their D-Day victory. But there's a lot more behind this stubborn and volatile human being than most people see; one who does see it is his dedicated wide Clementine who may be the only one who can save him and, in effect, save Europe.
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After the traumatic events of the First World War, many devastated people are turning to the supernatural, in particular, the ghosts of loved ones. Unfortunately, many of the grief stricken are being conned by swindlers looking to make quick money. Florence Cathcart is a woman who exposes these frauds for what they really are. Her book on the subject is a bestseller, making her well known all over the country.
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In 4th century Alexandria, Hypatia (Weisz) is a noted philosopher who teaches at the famed library. But the world around her is changing, as Greek and Egyptian beliefs conflict with Christians and Jews. And with the Roman Empire gaining power, the Christians have the edge. As Hypatia continues to explore her far-advanced theories about the earth and the universe, she finds herself caught between two men who love her: loyal servant Davus (Minghella) and the civic leader Orestes (Isaac). And the fundamentalist Romans aren't happy with her radical thoughts.
Continue reading: Agora Review
Set in Alexandria in 391 A.D. Agora tells the story of the astronomer-philosopher Hypatia. Knowing her city's in dire turmoil and about to fall to new christian rule, the only safe haven was in the cities legendary library which was housed inside it's own walls.
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James (Rhys Meyers) is assistant to the American Ambassador to France (Durden) and is hoping to get involved in intelligence work. James' big break interrupts a romantic evening with his fiancee (Smutniak) as he's assigned to team up with notorious agent Charlie Wax (Travolta). The next 24 hours is a blur of bullets, bombs, cocaine, hookers and terrorists, while James just tries to keep up with Charlie's trail of carnage. And eventually he begins to see a method to Charlie's madness.
Continue reading: From Paris With Love Review
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