Run time: 125 mins
Gary Oldman finds himself at the front of the Oscar pack in Joe Wright’s patriotic Second World War epic.
With continental Europe falling to Hitler and Britain’s army stranded on the French coast, England’s faith in their Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is at an all time low. 65 year-old Winston Churchill is voted into the position by Tories backed into a corner by a Labour Party who would accept no other. Churchill’s heavy drinking and judgement are called into question by his own party and the King, but with the weight of the nation on his shoulders, the man many consider a warmonger must lead them through their Darkest Hour. Intriguing sub-plot.
Oldman is in fine form as he takes this larger-than-life portrayal to dizzying heights, perfectly capturing a man forever haunted by his fateful part in the Battle of Gallipoli as he weighs up the possibility of leading more troops to the slaughter.
A masterclass in character study and a rousing period piece, Darkest Hour may stand as the best of this year’s movies about Churchill and Dunkirk.
“This isn’t an uncritical celebration of British bulldog spirit but a nuanced portrait.” (Independent) (research Chris Coetsee) A remarkable, unrecognisable Gary Oldman as the jowly old man.