Movie Review: Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman, as Winston Churchill

Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and Kristen Scott Thomas as his wife, Clementine, is another (IMHO) masterpiece, beautifully filmed and wonderfully acted by a great cast.

This British coproduction from Focus Four Films and Working Titles Films, directed by Joe Wright, concentrates on a very brief segment and moment in history—literally weeks from the moment when the then sitting Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is forced to resign through a vote of no-confidence, through to a few days after the evacuation of 300,000 British troops via Dunkirk.

This is not an in-depth look at that moment in history, nor the people in power making all the decisions. But another well-crafted, cleverly told and thoroughly entertaining ‘snap-shot’ that is, once again, poignant and at once, very personal.

Gary Oldman is brilliant. I’ve not seen him in many movies prior to this, the only one that comes to mind is Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy — the John Le Carré penned novel turned movie. In which he starred along side another excellent cast of character actors. And just as he did in that movie, quietly stealing every scene he’s in. He did so again in Darkest Hour!

Every minute, nuanced moment is captivating. His performance never overdone, or belittling to, or a caricature of the great man he’s portraying. Subtle, considered, and emotive, we see a Churchill seldom seen up on screen. And while some have complained about the script being a little off-centre with it’s accuracy, who are we to know the difference. This is not a historically accurate movie. But a portrayal of a man in his and ‘our’ darkest hour, coming to terms with choices and terrible decisions made, and taking the responsibility for them.

Shout outs also go to Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, and Stephen Dillane as Lord Halifax. Both men spot-on in their portrayals of their characters.

With an ensemble cast of British actors who became their ‘characters’ up on screen, to the witty, droll, acerbic dialogue, through to the beautifully rendered cinematography, Darkest Hour is another must-see movie that will have you wishing, we had a little Churchill in our lives.

One of my all-time heroes, in one of my top-10 favourite movies.

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