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:
The King’s Speech (2010)
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)
It’s amazing how many films have scenes where people are in a movie theatre watching a movie. You are watching a movie about someone watching a movie. I don’t mind, but it’s a funny thought.
Sad fact: Tony Scott and 3 big names from this film (Dennis Hopper, James Gandolfini, and Chris Penn) all passed away within the last 7 years. Hopper was the only one that wasn’t taken before his time.
Rest in peace James Gandolfini!
He made the film Violet & Daisy (2011) in 2011, but the film has yet to be released. It may have had limited release on 5/3/13, but it has yet to be available in my area.
James Gandolfini with be missed. He always brought a ton of energy to his characters and really knew how to make his presence known. That presence will live on in all of his films and television shows for many years to come.
Click on the links below to my James Gandolfini movie reviews.