Release Date: December 22, 2017
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Lily James, Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Samuel West, Ronald Pickup, Hannah Steele, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Anna Burnett, Nicholas Jones, Jordan Waller, Richard Lumsden, Brian Pettifer, Angelique Joan, Philip Martin Brown, Hilton McRae, John Locke, Zak Holland, James Eeles, Liv Hansen, Jeremy Child, Beatrice Stein, Danny Stewart, David Olawale Ayinde, Bronte Carmichael, Bronte Carmichael, Shane Griffin, Michael Haydon, Tim Ingall, Annarie Boor, Mary Antony, Tom Ashley, Neil Swift, Keith Lomas, Martyn Mayger, Clive Aitkins, Andy Michalache, Paul Leonard
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 125 minutes
Production Company: Working Title Films, Focus Features
Genre: Drama, War
If you didn’t know already, World War II was an absolute horrible time in history that took place many decades ago in this world. There are so many important stories, perspective, and key figures that had last minute decision to make in the most trying times, and those ramifications still abound in the society we all live in today. One of those important figures was the Prime Minister of Britain at the time which Winston Churchill. He led the British away from an atrocity, and director Joe Wright wanted to tell his side of the story. With the title of this film being the Darkest Hour, there’s no better way to sum up the short time Churchill had to change the direction of his country, and with the great performance that filled the role of his shoes, it speaks volumes to the adversity that man had to go through.
I won’t waste any time in saying this, but this film comes in at a few minutes over two hours, and the first forty of the minutes was a drudgery mess of pacing, and story time. I couldn’t wait for the film to end as the plot had to be set, but it did so in the most despicable of ways. The score of the time during the first act or so was a distraction. It didn’t cater to the film, but instead interrupted it, clocking me out, and causing me not to be able to focus on the severity of the situation.
Though soon after, things turned away when Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) was sworn in as the Prime Minister to save the day, and lead his country to victory. Initially, I was annoyed with Churchill’s character. I wasn’t able to stomach all of his shenanigans on screen with the way he treated his surrounding people, and conducted himself. Though, that was what eventually made the film great, because that’s what the man was known for. He’s remembered as a difficult soul, and never backed down even when defeat seemed inevitable, and that’s why he’s such a respected figure in the history books today. Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Churchill was spot on, and nothing short of brilliance. The accent was strong, and the heavy prosthetic makeup was a homerun adaptation of the real figure that graced this planet many decades ago. It was startling how convincing he was in the role that head core beliefs of justice, and would never back down, even when backed into the darkest corner. While all odds were against him he never folded, and Oldman’s performance made sure the audience knew that.
The film itself is better because of this, and also focused on a key battle having to do with Dunkirk. Dunkirk is another film released this year (2017) of the same name, but seeing it from Churchill perspective was the perfect history lesson that showcased the importance of that time in history. If nothing else; this film is driven by the performance of Gary Oldman, and is worth the price of admission, if you’re a fan of his work. Or even if not, it’s worth your time as a worthy representation of history during dark times this world had to face. While I can’t say the entire film is Oscar worthy, I will say that Gary Oldman’s performance in the film surely is.