Award-winning director Joe Wright is back with another masterpiece. Much like his previous works, such as Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Atonement (2007), Darkest Hour functions as an absolutely brilliant film which ought to be seen and enjoyed for years to come.
The film showcases the first five weeks of Winston Churchill’s appointment as British Prime Minister during the second World War. Featuring all of his initial trials and tribulations, his determination to never give up and his refusal to surrender Britain. Ultimately, this film encapsulates the details of Churchill’s initiation of battle against Hitler’s tyranny.
Churchill did not have the most celebrated appointment as Prime Minister. Begrudgingly appointed during times of war — after his party had no one else eager enough to accept the difficult position — his fellow ministers, the war cabinet and even the King at the time—King George VI—were utterly against Churchill. They deemed him irrational, his plans unfathomable and his choices incomprehensible. However, despite his doubts and worries, Churchill never gave up and he never gave in.
While Gary Oldman is an absolutely impeccable actor, it was definitely surprising that he was cast as Churchill. Despite how unlike Churchill he seemed, from the difference in age, body structure and even facial features, Oldman once again knocked everybody off their feet with his ability to morph into the most remarkable Churchill impersonation seen on screen to date. Barely recognizable Oldman, whose make-up was impeccably crafted by Kazuhiro Tsuji, seemed to effortlessly embody Churchill completely. This was not only due to the prosthetics, but it was also in the way in which Oldman adopted Churchill’s mumbling form of speech, his mannerisms, his sense of humour and even in the fashion in which Churchill walked.
Oldman presented the audience with an utterly lovable Churchill and I found it fascinating that his performance almost provides an insight into one of Britain’s most beloved leaders. Of course, while I cannot confirm that Churchill did indeed nap at four, use the ‘peace sign’ in a most incorrect manner or that he experienced heartfelt conversations — with the people of Britain — on an underground subway train, I absolutely loved every second of it all in the film. All these little elements, which formed this powerful figure, truly helped paint this believable and relatable portrait of Churchill and I found it absolutely fantastic.
For those who are fans of Joe Wright’s films, or for those who absolutely love Oldman’s brilliant acting, Darkest Hour is certainly not one to miss. For the rest, this film is especially relatable because if there’s one thing this film can provide you—if not a remarkable true story—it is a lesson of how, when faced with tremendous adversity, you should never, never, never give up.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
[Final Note: I would like to take the time to congratulate Gary Oldman for winning a Golden Globe for his performance as Winston Churchill. I’m completely overjoyed for his success and I absolutely enjoy all of his works. May this mark an ever so successful 2018 for him.]
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[This review was written by myself, it will also be found on the Grok Online Magazine site.]