Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Into the Storm 2009

This is a sequel to The Gathering Storm, with a different cast and director, and same script writer. It is a worthwhile investment of time for it's insights into history and glimpses into the persona of prominent leaders. Although it lacks the effervescence and energy of  The Gathering Storm, it has more than enough momentum to make the period come alive. The war itself remains in the background (mercifully) and we have a human drama in the corridors and chambers where decisions effecting millions are being shaped. It is structured as a retrospective from a holiday in France after the war where a listless, enervated Churchill awaits the result of his losing post war election. He is uncomfortable without a battle raging around him. He reminisces of the days when as a boy he waged a battle with an army of toy soldiers, and the drama laden days of the real war. The deliberations of the British decision makers over a long rectangular table, the debates and heckling on the floor of the house, Churchill's encounter with Roosevelt in th US where Churchill finds himself perchance facing the American President in his birthday suit ( literally, as his only towel slips off his waist), the Yalta Conference where Stalin proposes a toast to Churchill's valet, Churchill's encounters with the king--such touches makes it  all too human a tale one can enjoyably relate to. In the course of a cabinet meeting when the situation seems absolutely hopeless, Churchill spontaneously breaks into verse, reciting these lines from the poem Horatius from Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome:

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods?"

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