Darkest Hour (2017)
Directed by Joe Wright
Written by Anthony McCarten
Starring: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn
After his appointment, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Oldman) is thrust into the battle to save his country from the terrors of the war raging in Europe.
This biographical film is a unique look at the early days of Winston Churchill’s time as Prime Minister. The screenplay was written by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) and the movie was directed by Joe Wright (Pan). The cast features Gary Oldman (Leon: The Professional), Lily James (Baby Driver), Kristin Scott Thomas (Only God Forgives), and Ben Mendelsohn (Starred Up).
This is a wonderfully crafted story that focuses on an important and interesting time in recent history. The writing does a nice job of getting off to a quick start. The characters are introduced in a great series of early scenes as well. Once this one gets going it moves at a nice pace without any unnecessary lulls in the action. The dialogue in the film is smart and entertaining, and helps to build the drama of the story. The film also features interesting characters that all bring different elements to the story. The choices made in what moments to highlight really help as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything unnecessary or out of place in this nicely constructed film. Overall a wonderful experience.
Gary Oldman has been doing what he does at the highest level for a long time. This film is the latest example of the skill he brings to every role. This time his transformation was both physical and emotional as he became Winston Churchill. His performance is incredibly convincing and he brought a level of emotion I haven’t seen in other portrayals of the legendary statesman. He also has great chemistry with all of the other actors in this one. Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Ben Mendelsohn all do great work in this one as well. Their performances, along with many others, help to create a completely immersive viewing experience. There really isn’t a bad performance in this one.
This movie does a great job creating a believable version of London in the early weeks of World War II. The sets, costumes, and locations all fit together and give the actors a solid base to work from. The visual success also extended to the physical transformation that Gary Oldman went through to become Churchill. He is almost entirely unrecognizable throughout the movie. The sound and editing in this movie also make nice contributions to the movie, and the score by Dario Marianelli (The Soloist) helps to complete the experience. It’s also nice to see such nice work from Joe Wright after the miserable work he did on Pan.
This is a wonderful film that tells an incredible true story. Fans of history should definitely see this one. I would also suggest this to fans of war and biographical movies. This is also a must-see film for fans of the stars. This one has all the right elements to be successful both critically and commercially. It will be interesting to see if Oldman finally gets an Oscar. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.
Running Time: 125 Minutes