DARKEST HOUR – 9
In a word: Engrossing
If you saw the movie Dunkirk, don’t miss this prequel. This is a great docudrama for people interested in what was going on behind the scenes when 300,000 British soldiers were under siege and trapped in Dunkirk by the Nazi movement in the spring of 1940.
This was better than Dunkirk because we learned so much more, not only about the treachery of war, but about the personalities that were imbued with the responsibility to make the right decisions, when there would be no time or opportunity to correct a bad decision. Characters were well defined and come alive behind the incredible acting performance by journeyman Gary Oldman who becomes Winston Churchill; looks, stature, speech, and personality included. The movie starts from the time he was thrust into the job of prime minister just as the war with Germany was starting and so many members of parliament were against him.
Why Gary Oldman was cast as Churchill, you ask? When he bears no resemblance to Churchill at all? See the movie. Not only should the make-up people be nominated for an Oscar, so should Oldman, who well deserves winning it.
Interesting enough, former prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, remained a powerful member of parliament when Churchill ascended, and – unbelievably – continued to insist on following a path of negotiations with Hitler. We all know how Chamberlain had been humiliated by Hitler two years earlier when the Nazi leader proceeded to break every promise or treaty he signed, yet Chamberlain was ready for more.
Not Churchill. This was a national leader as unconventional as one can be, but a pure soul with plenty of personal shortcomings. But he was a dedicated statesman whose long range goal was to preserve the British Isles and to win at all cost. The alternatives were unacceptable.
Audiences to this movie cannot help but feel the gut-wrenching anguish, not only within Churchill, but among the entire parliament, and the British population across the land. Surprisingly, the revered U.S. president (FDR) was not as accommodating to our European ally as Churchill had hoped. Must see the movie.
Actress, Kristin Scott Thomas, gives an excellent supporting performance as Churchill’s wife, as does Lily James, who plays Churchill’s personal typist. Young British director, Joe Wright should also see a nomination for an Oscar.
Another fine, true-story film that does not rely on violent action or foul language for effect.
I could see this being nominated in the Best Movie category.
I give this movie a 9 out of 10.