The Gathering Storm

  • 2002
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Biography, War

This biographical made-for-cable film about British Prime Minister Winston Chrichill and the years — 1936-1939 — leading up to WWII does justice to its larger-than-life central figure without giving short shrift to larger historical events. In the 1930s, Churchill (Albert Finney) was regarded as something of an imperialist relic and with a pacifist...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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This biographical made-for-cable film about British Prime Minister Winston Chrichill and the years — 1936-1939 — leading up to WWII does justice to its larger-than-life central figure without giving short shrift to larger historical events. In the 1930s, Churchill (Albert Finney) was regarded as something of an imperialist relic and with a pacifist prime minister in office the English parliament was in no mood for Churchill's anti-Gandhi, pro-Empire sentiments. But undisguised anti-Jewish sentiment emanating from Germany's diplomat corps rankled some British officials and the winds of war soon swept Churchill back in favor. Churchill's cohort, Desmond Morris (Jim Broadbent), struck an alliance with foreign-office official Ralph Wigram (Linus Roache), and because Wigram was privy to classified information, Churchill had access to damning evidence of Germany's overall militarism and Hitler's arms build up, information that was kept from the British public. Though aghast at Hitler's boldness, Wigram started to fear for his own career after veiled threats made it clear that the leaks from his office had not gone unnoticed. Meanwhile, Churchill experienced a personal crisis when his wife, Clementine (Vanessa Redgrave), expressed interest pursuing her own interests by joining a zoological expedition. While weathering this domestic situation Churchill plunged ahead with his unpopular pro-war stance. Despite the best efforts of bigwigs like Ivo

Pettifer (Hugh Bonneville) and Sir Robert (Tom Wilkinson) to appease the Nazis, Germany invaded Poland and this irrefutable evidence of Hitler's game plan garnered support for Churchill's policy and swept him into a post in the War Cabinet. Churchill became the First Lord of the Naval Fleet. Galvanized by the crisis, Churchill fulfilled his destiny and shepherded England through WWII. An eye-opening history lesson and a sterling production, this film is inseparable from Finney's superlative portrayal. Screenwriter Hugh Whitemore invests the story with considerable suspense while sticking closely to historical facts, while director Richard Loncraine does a superlative job of drawing fine performances from his stellar cast.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This biographical made-for-cable film about British Prime Minister Winston Chrichill and the years — 1936-1939 — leading up to WWII does justice to its larger-than-life central figure without giving short shrift to larger historical events. In th… (more)

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