With an engaging storyline, great dialogue and an amazing performance by Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour is undoubtedly a contender at this year’s Oscars. Win or lose though there’s no doubt that the Joe Wright film will go down as one of the best war dramas ever made.
The thrilling and inspiring story of Winston Churchill takes place during World War II, when Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain. Assuming the position of power, the Prime Minister finds himself embroiled in a battle on both front and foreign soil, namely internal politicking amongst his peers, and the growing threat of Nazi Germany taking over Europe.
Faced with insurmountable odds of possibly losing his position of Prime Minister and facing defeat at the hands of Hitler and his army, Churchill also has to contend with a skeptical King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn). This is where Darkest Hour truly begins to draw its audience in.
Unlike the wonderful Dunkirk, which puts the audience thick into the action of Operation: Dynamo (which is also reference and shown briefly), much of Darkest Hour’s best moments are carried by Oldman. Barely recognisable under heavy make-up, Oldman brings to life Churchill and showcases a full repertoire of emotions as he attempts to rally a nation and withstand a possible invasion from a powerful enemy.
Ultimately Churchill rises to the occasion, despite doubt and with very little support, to change the course of the war and make history. Although the journey he makes is a very lonely one, Wright manages to weave in several different points of views, from Churchill’s loving wife, Clemmie (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his secretary (Lily James) as well as a King who eventually gives him the support that he needs.
Despite its long run-time of a little over two hours, Darkest Hour succeeds in drawing in and entertaining its audience through the eyes of one of history’s most enigmatic personalities. A must watch for lovers of history and character-driven dramas.
Popcorn Rating: Fresh & Fulfilling