Set during the early days of World War II, Winston Churchill is the newly appointed prime minster and faces a mountain of a challenge. As Hitler’s Nazi army is spreading through Europe at a devastating pace, Churchill has the future of Britain in his hands. His task is a difficult one, does he negotiate with Adolf Hitler for surrender, or defy the odds and take on his army and fight back. With time running out and having no back up from parliament, Churchill must decide what is right for the country. Not only is he at war with Germany, he faces battles every day with his colleagues to do what’s right.
Portrayed by the ever brilliant Gary Oldman, the British actor delivers a tour de force performance as the late, great prime minister. Deservedly getting recognition by the Academy for his strong performance, I’m hoping 2018 is the year when he finally wins what he deserves, the Oscar. Almost unrecognizable in his fat suit and thinning hair, Gary Oldman seems to be the only person who was born for the role. Enunciating each word just the way Churchill would have done, it’s remarkable to see the veteran actor give so much in the latter end of his career. Ever since his incredible performance in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, it’s been difficult to see another performance like that from Oldman, but I personally think it trumps that performance. Not only is it strong, but the stamina he has to carry the role throughout the film is remarkable. He dominates every single scene and that’s a great feat as he is effectively in every shot. Oldman is backed up well by great actors like Kristen Scott Thomas, Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn.
Coming off from the financial and critical bomb that is Pan, Joe Wright goes back to low-budget dramas and shows just why he is one of Britain’s most talented directors. Well known in the past for Hanna and Atonement, Wright brings elements from each film to Darkest Hour. There aren’t massive set pieces in Darkest Hour but Joe Wright does very well in capturing what it would have felt like in that time onto the screen. Intensity and Drama fuels the movie along at a great pace and his direction and lighting choices help set each scene up perfectly.
A healthy running time, a tremendous cast alongside a director with a lot to prove on the big screen again, Darkest Hour goes down as one of my favourite biographical films in recent times. The mood of the film is perfect and balances every emotion perfectly to deliver a WWII movie for all ages to enjoy. 4 out of 5 stars.