Image via Collider
Directed by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement)
Written by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything, Death of a Superhero)
Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel (Dark Shadows, Big Eyes)
Music by Dario Marianelli (Eat Pray Love, Paddington 2)
Produced by Tim Bevan, Lisa Bruce, Eric Fellner, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski
Starring Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Lawless, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah’s Key, The Party), Lily James (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Baby Driver), Stephen Dillane (The Greatest Game Ever Played, Zero Dark Thirty), Ronald Pickup (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Time of Their Lives), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
As someone who immensely enjoys WWII history, I was eager to watch Darkest Hour once I found out the movie’s subject.
An interesting historical figure to say the least, Winston Churchill (Oldman) was somewhat of an enigma to his peers and perhaps remains an enigma to this day. Constantly muttering, drinking far too much scotch, puffing his lungs away on cigars, and always preparing for the worst, Winston Churchill became somewhat of a legend to the British people during his time as Prime Minister. However, his peers in Parliament didn’t exactly see him as a legend. To them he was a self-centered blowhard who was more of a danger to their public standing than Adolf Hitler was! Despite Parliament’s misgivings, Churchill became determined yet the more to shield off Hitler’s advance.
Churchill had dedicated his life to public service. Perhaps he was too dedicated as some in his family resented him for his negligence to them. Too make things worse, King George VI (Mendelsohn) was a bit frightened of Churchill as he never knew what would emanate from his mouth.
Slowly however, the British people realized the dangers of Hitler’s vision once it became obvious that France would fall. Then there was Dunkirk, where over 300,000 British soldiers were stranded and cornered by the German machine. Churchill was dejected at the thought of losing Britain’s young men in the armed forces, but he was also disgusted at the thought of peace talks with Hitler. Unlike many of the world leaders in the west, Churchill knew Hitler was a maniac that was for the most part, without reason. Would the lesson ever be learned?
Gary Oldman, who has greatly impressed me with his roles in Hannibal and Léon: The Professional, delivered yet again with his Winston Churchill impersonation in Darkest Hour. I had my reservations when I first heard who would play Churchill, especially considering Gary Oldman is rather slim, and Churchill – to put it mildly, was not. But kudos to the makeup team and to Oldman, whose mannerisms were much akin to Churchill’s. When walking, his shoulders were hunched forward as if he was always on a mission, and his lower lip protruded when in deep thought. Great attention was given by Oldman to the details in Churchill’s mannerisms, and that to me was critical in keeping with the character.
If you liked or loved Dunkirk, you will most certainly like Darkest Hour. This film shows the events preceding that daring rescue mission from the viewpoint of Britain’s leadership.
I’m going to give Darkest Hour an 81%.