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Darkest Hour (2017)


Darkest Hour (2017)

I have to admit that prior to seeing this film, my history knowledge of Winston Churchill was a little fuzzy.

Gary Oldman is a wizard when it comes to his ability to become whoever he is supposed to be portraying on screen.  I became more interested in seeing Darkest Hour after I found out that Oldman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, even though I am fed up with the Academy Awards.

Darkest Hour is based on the true story of when British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was forced to decide whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler when all of Western Europe was being threatened by the Nazis in 1940.

The movie was directed by Joe Wright and the noteworthy cast includes Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, and David Strathairn.

Gary Oldman successfully transformed into Winston Churchill.  He was a mumbling, bumbling, blabbering, grumpy old man.  It is hard to believe that anyone else could have done half as good a job as he did in his role.

The U.K. in the 1940s was duplicated convincingly and artistically in Darkest Hour.  Watching the movie, it was very easy to be pulled into that time and place.  It was as if you were there witnessing Winston Churchill make history.

It is always interesting to me how movies with similar subjects get made around the same time.  It is no accident that Dunkirk (2017) came out the same year as Darkest Hour.  Hollywood likes to capitalize on one concept by showcasing similar movies in the same year.  I guess that they assume that if one movie does well, everyone will be curious about the other movie of the same type and will go to see it while the idea is still fresh.

Darkest Hour is about what is going on behind the scenes while Dunkirk is happening.  In this case, the two movies do make good companion pieces to each other.

The problem with Darkest Hour is that everyone in the movie besides Gary Oldman felt like an afterthought.  His character development improved as the movie went on, but there was not much care placed on the other characters.

The other main thing that was wrong with the film is that it just felt like it took way too long to make its point.  It probably could have been 30 minutes shorter.  I think that this would have made it more enjoyable.

It felt historically accurate and Oldman’s performance was superb.  Without him, this movie would have really struggled.

The film felt a little bit like The King’s Speech (2010).  This is not one of those movies that you will want to watch over and over again.  It was tasteful and informative, but I will be OK with only seeing it once.

Darkest Hour is a well put together World War II period piece.  It is a good depiction of some historical events, however it is overly drawn out and therefore falls a little short.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Dunkirk (2017)

The King’s Speech (2010)

Lincoln (2012)

Leon: The Professional (1994)

True Romance (1993)

Schindler’s List (1993)

The Pianist (2002)

The Imitation Game (2014)

The Aviator (2004)

Cinderella Man (2005)

J. Edgar (2011)

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Only God Forgives (2013)


Only God Forgives Poster

Only God Forgives (2013)

 

Before Only God Forgives, the last 5 full-length movies that Ryan Gosling starred in were all high caliber films.  That being said, I did not know a whole lot about Only God Forgives before watching it, but I figured that with Gosling’s track record, it had to be good.

Only God Forgives Gosling mirror

Only God Forgives takes place in the slums of Bangkok.  Julian (Ryan Gosling) is part of a drug-smuggling family.  After Julian’s brother is murdered, Julian’s mother wants him to find and kill the man responsible.  Things get more complicated after Julian finds out the reason why his brother was killed.

The movie was written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Tom Burke, and Sahajak Boonthanakit.

Let me just say, I figured way wrong!

The film was painstakingly drawn out.  It was dark, graphic, weird, awkward, hard to follow, boring, pointless, and just plain bad.  It tried way too hard to be something special, but it just turned out to be one of the worst movies that I have seen all year.  In fact, it might just be the worst movie of the year.  It is certainly Ryan Gosling’s worst movie.

I wanted to turn the movie off halfway through.  I kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did.  It just got worse, and worse.

I try not to be so blatantly harsh when it comes to reviewing films, but I am going to make an exception with this one.  Let me just be blunt, and honest.  Overall, Only God Forgives is just crap.

Only God Forgives Gosling hallway

To all of you Ryan Gosling fans out there, he is bad in this movie, but the movie is even worse.  I am a big Gosling fan.  Do not waste your time with this film.

I rate this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  RUN!