Even in the middle of a fighting Nazis (The real ones, not the clowns with Tiki touches) you still have to deal with bureaucratic nonsense. For those of you who have seen Dunkirk earlier this year, Darkest Hour plays as a prequel of sorts taking you back to the days leading up to that evacuation. Set in the 1940s, Britain is knee-deep in the middle of the German invasion and in desperate need of leadership. With no one else to turn to, they choose Winston Churchill to be the new Prime Minister and take the fight to the Nazi regime. However, his decisions lead to the ire of many in Parliament as his actions lead to the loss of many lives. With politics been played on the side and one of the most oppressive forces in World History knocking at their doors, Churchill must be the leader that the UK desperately needs and deal with the consequences of playing a game of human chess.
If you have followed Gary Oldman’s career lately, he had gotten the short end of some stinkers recently. In Darkest Hour, Oldman gives one of the best performance of his career bringing to life one of the most iconic characters in world history and doing it without having to gain 70 pounds to look like the role. Lily James who plays the role of Churchill’s secretary is an important supporting character in the film as she acts as one of the counterbalances to his wartime decisions and helps humanize the character on that level. Speaking of counterbalances, as Churchill tries to be the leader that his country needs, you also have members of Parliament fighting his every move behind the scenes (like government actually does) because they believe the best course of action is a negotiation with the Nazi regime trying to wipe out their country. It’s a conflict that is not only real but adds to the authenticity of the film.
Gary Oldman’s interpretation of Winston Churchill is one of the best historical captures we have seen in years. Along with the great Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel who captures the tensions of war and debate visually with dramatic panning/perspective shots, Darkest Hour is Oldman’s career-defining moment as well as a great story of leadership in the most trying of times.
OFFICIAL RATING: ****
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