“Darkest Hour” stars Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup. Released on November 22, 2017, the film depicts Winston Churchill in his early days as Prime Minister during World War II.
The film is directed by Joe Wright, who also directed films such as Pride & Prejudice, The Soloist, Hanna, and Anna Karenina. You’re probably wondering why I took so long to review this movie? Funny you should ask. The film started out its limited theatrical run around Thanksgiving weekend, and I had to wait an entire month for it to play at my closest theater. It was pretty frustrating because I’ve been hearing nothing but positive feedback about it, most notably Gary Oldman’s portrayal as Winston Churchill. Now that I got a chance to witness it for myself, was it as good as they say it was? My sources indicate yes.
The first thing I would like to mention is Gary Oldman himself. He did an incredible job at maintaining Churchill’s personality as well as providing some humorous moments. There’s a good chance that he may provide some stiff competition during awards season because of how he presents his series of speeches through emotion and determination. Not to mention the film’s makeup and costume design made Oldman totally unrecognizable. Lily James also delivered an impressive performance as Elizabeth Layton, Churchill’s secretary. The story behind Churchill does have a few slow parts that may be problematic for those who aren’t into history films, but the amount of passion that Joe Wright had put into it was completely noticeable and respectable. With his impressive direction and its strong portrayal of its political themes, the film was able to provide an engaging, dialogue-driven war drama with finesse without losing sight of the importance of Churchill’s purpose. I would also like to point out the film’s cinematography for showcasing some of the most impressive shots in any war drama film.
Overall, “Darkest Hour” is an invigorating and thoughtful portrayal of the man who changed the game in World War II. Lead by the amazing Gary Oldman, along with Wright’s direction and its engaging dialogue-driven scenes, the movie should go down as one of the most important and well-executed history films of the decade. Whether it will make it to the Oscars this year or not is completely up in the air, but one thing’s for sure, I will be rooting for it during the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Golden Globes, mostly Gary Oldman. I would recommend it to those who enjoy Oldman and to those who enjoy films about World War II.