In 1940 World War II, the Nazis were taking over Europe and about to capture France. At this point, England was losing faith in their Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, and he eventually resigns. When his successor declines the position, England turns to their next option, whom no one had faith in, Winston Churchill. He then has to make the difficult choice of whether to continue the war against Germany or negotiate peace with Hitler.
Gary Oldman undoubtedly gives one of the best performances of a historical figure of all time. Credit must be given to Oldman himself for completely enveloping Churchill down to his accent, speech patterns, and even small mannerisms. However, the makeup team deserves immense praise for their difficult task of physically transforming Oldman into Churchill. They perfected his look to where I never noticed the prosthetics, even in the close-up shots.
Gary Oldman could have overdone the acting, instead, he gives a believable performance that will be remembered as one of the best in years to come. The combination of the masterful performance and the impeccable prosthetics made Oldman unrecognizable as Churchill. You never see Gary Oldman, all you see is Winston Churchill.
The supporting cast is fantastic and elevates the film, some of which giving context to Churchill’s personal life. Kristen Scott Thomas is a standout as Clementine Churchill, and Ben Mendelsohn was surprisingly fit for the role of King George. Lily James was competent as Churchill’s secretary, but despite some great moments, the script struggles to find a use for her character for the majority of the film.
This film is incredibly interesting if you want to know more about how Churchill came into power and how much support he had from his party. The writers didn’t over glorify Churchill, they gave insight into why he didn’t have support from many people, even his own party. He also has an interesting relationship with King George, which was one of my favorite parts of the movie.
Churchill has to consult with the British Parliament throughout the movie, and this prompts long dialogue sequences. Much like Lincoln, the lead performance and the directing cause these scenes to be tense and engaging when they could fall flat and become dull. The movie is also very funny, there are some funny jokes scattered throughout that add to the film’s accessibility and enjoyment.
One of the main points of the movie is as a deeper look into Operation Dynamo, otherwise known as the Dunkirk Evacuation, recently told in Dunkirk. Darkest Hour goes into depth about what decisions were made to reach that point, and how important that event was to England in the war.
While he film was wholy intriguing and entertaining to me, I would understand if some people find it boring if they aren’t interested in the subject matter. If you want to know more about what I described above, you will probably really like this movie as I did, but if this isn’t your cup of tea it might drag in many scenes.
Darkest Hour is worth watching for the lead performance alone, and the compelling story makes me reccomend it that much more. It is a great character piece about Winston Churchill, while being an enthralling historical film. Make sure to catch this before Oscars because Gary Oldman is a lock for the Best Actor awards.
Have you seen Darkest Hour? If so, what did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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