29 November 2015 | blanche-2
Good but not great
Though "Into the Storm" is possibly a sequel to "The Gathering Storm," it can't hold a candle to it. Nor can the performance of Brendan Gleeson, as good as it was, approach Albert Finney's performance in The Gathering Storm.
This movie deals with Churchill being named Prime Minister and his concern for the British force which is now trapped, his destruction of the French fleet, his forming of a unified government, meeting with Stalin and Roosevelt, and his final ousting from office in 1945.
Naturally, as some of the reviews here point out, there was a great deal left out. One of the reviewers states that Roosevelt and Churchill are responsible for World War II by cutting off access to trade, and that Hitler was faced with starving his people.
I suppose that's one way to look at it, and one can spin events any way one wants. The fact is, Hitler couldn't have cared less about the German people and he starved them anyway. He took their pots and pans and anything else they had, including teenage boys when they were needed to fight. And in the end, when it was obvious Germany was losing, he blamed the Germans. To present him as a concerned dictator who cared about his people - I'm sorry, it's ludicrous.
The author Marcia Davenport (The Valley of Decision), who was in love with Czech freedom fighter Jan Maserek, said that Roosevelt and Churchill sold Eastern Europe down the river. The reference to Poland toward the end of the movie hints at letting Stalin have Eastern Europe rather than go to war again.
Getting back to this film - yes, a great deal was left out by necessity and yes, I suppose to some it seems too simplistic. I, too, felt it was on the sketchy side.
But what bothered me were all these famous phrases of Churchill's just tossed off in normal conversation, so that when he talked, he always sounded like he was making a speech. For me it gave the production a very stagy feel. Then, when it came for him to actually make a speech, they left out his biggest one.
The acting was good, as the cast was top drawer, with Janet McTeer as Clementine Churchill, Iain Glen as King George, Len Cariou as FDR, and Aleksey Petrenko as Josef Stalin.
For some reason, as I read through the reviews, some people expected these actors to do Rich Little impressions of these people and were complimentary of Petrenko because he looked like Stalin. I don't think lookalikes and vocal impressions were the point of the film.
If you're a novice and intend to read up on some of the other aspects of World War II, this is a good starting point. It's by no means definitive.