To be honest, I’m not a fan of war movies. Some people watch World War II movies and then study each battle strategy and memorise the moves that each party made during the war. When I heard that Gary Oldman had been cast as Winston Churchill however, I was intrigued by the movie.
Darkest Hour chronicles the days when Churchill has to take control of the government after Neville Chamberlain resigns. Churchill has to face a nation under siege, with Nazi Germany steadily conquering the countries and moving closer to the UK. Some of the last British troops are stationed in two locations: Calais and Dunkirk in France – and when Calais falls, Dunkirk’s situation is critical. Churchill is pressured by Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane) and Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) to consider a peace treaty with Hitler, as mediated by Mussolini from Italy. Due to Churchill’s past history, his relationship with King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) is also strained, with the King initially favouring Viscount Halifax to be the Prime Minister.
This movie is a gripping, blow-by-blow political and historical drama film. The cast ensemble is just top notch – including Kirstin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill, and Lily James as Elizabeth Layton, Churchill’s secretary. Joe Wright, the director – packages the movie like a quality stage play. Wonderful staging throughout most of the movies, showcasing Gary Oldman‘s brilliant artistry. His Winston Churchill is brave and yet vulnerable, brash and yet sympathetic, a confident leader led by his principles. Bruno Delbonnel, the cinematographer for this movie, also contributes some beautiful framing in Darkest Hour. Some of the scenes are really artistic with their composition and lighting.
So yes, I really enjoyed this film. It has taught me more about the history around World War II and how Churchill is now known as one of the best British Prime Ministers. I just wish there were more leaders like him at this present time, somebody who can be visionary and fearless. Where are the true leaders now, when we need them?
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.