VIDEO: 5 films in UAE cinemas this week
Of all the figures in British history, and American for that matter, few enjoy a reputation as untouchable as Winston Churchill’s. Obviously, that history is a little murkier here in the Middle East, but as someone who assumed the role of prime minister in the midst of the Second World War and galvanised a nation and its allies as they confronted the apocalyptic forces of fascism in Europe, Churchill’s legacy warrants much of its sheen.
A British movie that places quite a few fractures in the varnish, then, might be a tough sell, and indeed several reviewers have already tetchily sucked their pipes and hammered the word “revisionism” into their laptops. Churchill, though, sets out to be intimate and insightful rather than brashly iconoclastic, offering an examination of the stresses and second-guesses that took place in the build up to the D-Day landings in 1944 – the crucial push that would place the Allies’ war machine to Nazi Germany’s west.
Directed by Australian Jonathan Teplitzky and scripted by historian Alex von Tunzelmann – who actually has a column in British newspaper The Guardian to assess historical accuracy in cinema – the film depicts an uncertain, short-tempered Churchill (Brian Cox) who is struggling to exert any authority over his generals as they plan a campaign he feels is a mistake. It is full of grousing and snapping, imploring and chest-puffing; the behaviour of an old man in declining health confronting his gradual loss of influence. Indeed, much of the film is built around various set-piece dialogues in which he’s essentially told to stop interfering.
Cox might not be the most accurate physical manifestation of the man voted Greatest Ever Briton, but he conveys the exasperation and desperation with genuine conviction, and never has to resort to lispy, jowly impersonation. Miranda Richardson, as his long-suffering wife Clementine, is at her clipped and authoritative best, while the rest of the cast circle with period starch in all the right places. It’s a worthwhile, watchable and ultimately challenging film, but it might be history not everyone is quite prepared to accept. Even 70 years on.
In cinemas now
The Mummy (18)
Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe team up for another retread of the monster-in-the-crypt plot, which seems to be the latest attempt to revive the success of Indiana Jones. It’s hard to dislike, though, even if you know exactly what’s coming.
More goodies from DIFF@Vox. This award-winning movie follows the struggles of Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins), who battles to overcome crippling juvenile arthritis to become one of Canada’s premier folk artists.
A sort of cross between Gone in 60 Seconds and Fast and Furious, this action-drama centres on two luxury car thieves on a mission to steal a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO from one crime lord to give it to another. Scott Eastwood stars.
Transformers: The Last Knight (18)
Mark Wahlberg heads up a solid cast – Josh Duhamel and Anthony Hopkins included – in the latest blockbuster about massive robots. This time, the Transformers and the humans are at war.
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