Movie Title: Darkest Hour
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 2 hr. and 5 min.
Who did I watch with?: Stephie
Where did I watch it?: Showcase Cinemas – West Warwick, RI
It is very strange to get two movies that both revolve around the Dunkirk evacuation code-named Operation Dynamo in the same year with both being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Both movies have quality and approach them from very different points of view. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk looks at it mainly from a boots on the ground perspective. Darkest Hour focuses on the first month of Winston Churchill’s rise to Prime Minister and the political maneuvering that followed. One of the key issues of Churchill’s first month being the mobilization of small craft to rescue the troops stranded at Dunkirk.
Darkest Hour is not as compelling as Dunkirk, but it is well done. I had grave concerns about Gary Oldman’s ability to play Winston Churchill, but he did a fantastic job. The prosthetic work done to adjust his appearance is fairly incredible as Gary Oldman does not look anything like Churchill, but they were able to create a fair approximation in the movie. Ben Mendelsohn, fresh off his role as Krennic in Rogue One, plays a capable though not Colin Firth level George VI. The rest of the cast is suitable, but lacks stand out performances.
The main thrust of the story would be that former prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his conservative party ally Viscount Halifax wish to sue for peace. The proposal to sue for peace with Nazi Germany and allow the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to act as intermediary is, to put it mildly, unsatisfactory to Churchill. The military situation is a debacle. Churchill won’t admit it to the public. He lacks the support of the crown. No one is on his side in his desire to push on the war effort even while the army is being pushed off the continent. Churchill visits his French counterpart and shows that he is somewhat out of touch with conventional warfare and the rapid movement tactics utilized by the Germans. Chamberlain and Halifax paint Churchill as heartless and he needs to overcome these obstacles. Darkest Hour suffers from the fact that we know how this story ends.
Darkest Hour is a very well done movie. It has nice set pieces and solid performances. The plot is interesting. The movie lacks for action at times and does suffer some from knowing what the result will be. All in all though Gary Oldman’s performance is worth a look on its own. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: The Florida Project (2017)