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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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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)


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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

The poster for the movie says, “The Greatest Manhunt in History.”  It should have said, “The Greatest Waste of Time.”  The running time of the movie is 157 minutes.  They literally could have cut the running time in half and told the same story and it actually might have been entertaining.

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The movie is about the 10 year long “Manhunt,” capture, and killing of Osama Bin Laden after the attacks that occurred on 9/11/2001.

We all know by now that the fact that it took America 10 years to find Bin Laden and kill him is an absolute disgrace.  Of course, it was a great thing when it finally got done, but it sure took us long enough.  Zero Dark Thirty plays on that fact.  The movie is a very long, drawn-out depiction of the steps that we took to finally track down America’s Most Wanted and destroy him.  The film isn’t a decade long, but it certainly tries to feel that way.  It is so boring and slow at times that I wanted to turn it off at a number of different points.

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The other thing about this film is that it is hard to tell how factual it really is.  It is based on a true story, but do we really know all of the facts?  Unfortunately I think that people will watch this movie and assume that it is 100% accurate.  How do we know the truth about what happened?  A lot of the information about the “Manhunt” is classified.  How will we ever know the real truth?

The film tried so hard to be this big epic movie.  It failed quite miserably as far as I am concerned.

Zero Dark Thirty was nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Chastain), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Sound Editing.  To me, that is so comical.  It shows that the Academy has truly lost its mind to even nominate such garbage in the first place.

Zero Dark Thirty Chastain

This movie was almost as far away from Best Picture as you can get.  The acting was mediocre at best, especially Jessica Chastain’s performance.  Not even close to top notch.    The screenplay was very un-original.  They took a story that everyone in the world knows about and turned it into a screenplay.  That is not original in my book.  There were so many unnecessary scenes that could have been cut out of the movie that it was a complete disgrace to filmmaking.  The editor should have been fired, not nominated for an Academy Award.

I’m glad that the movie only won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.  It was better that it didn’t actually win.  It technically tied with Skyfall (2012) for Best Sound Editing.  Skyfall should have won.  I don’t know what is more embarrassing for Zero Dark Thirty, the fact that it was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and only won 1 of them or the fact that the only one that it actually won was a tie for Best Sound Editing.

Maybe the movie only got so much recognition because Kathryn Bigelow directed it.  Her film The Hurt Locker (2008) was very solid and was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won 6 of them.  That film made her the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director.  Were the Academy Award nominations for Zero Dark Thirty just a sort of blue ribbon recognizing Bigelow for her participation in trying again?

Bigelow had no support from her cast which most notably includes Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Reda Kateb, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Jeremy Strong, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez, James Gandolfini, Stephen Dillane, Frank Grillo, and Joel Edgerton.  Maybe the cast was not of much help because their characters had way more than enough time to develop, but they never really did.

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Kathryn Bigelow was in way over her head when she decided to direct Zero Dark Thirty and it shows.  The film is a steaming pile of cow dung.  The only decent part of the movie is when they showed Seal Team Six raiding Bin Laden’s lair.

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I recommend staying as far away from this movie as possible.  Save yourself a precious almost 3 hours of your life and don’t watch it.

I rate this movie a 2 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run.