By Marti Dols Roca.
Gary Oldman. Winston Churchill. What could go wrong? Many things really considering how the previous movie on the notorious PM did both on charts, box office and reviews (Churchill, Jonathan Teplitzky, 2017). Fear not though, as this biopic of the polyhedral admired, hated and widely discussed about eccentric ex prime minister fulfills the expectations created by its cast and it actually exceeds them. It isn’t like we are discovering Mr. Oldman at this point, but the Academy Awards Nominee and Bafta Winner British actor performs at its best and delivers a most convincing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (Joe Wright, 2017).
The movie begins with the forced resignation of PM Chamberlain given its disastrous management during World War II and the consequent election of Mr. Churchill as the new Prime Minister; and it ends with the up roaring applause of the parliament after the most famous speech of the British Bulldog. It’s quite interesting how several movies this year have reflected upon the same events from very different points of view: Their Finest followed a young female screenwriter trying to come up with a movie to lift the spirits of the British population after Dunkirk’s rescue of the allied troops by a civil fleet; Dunkirk brought us to the other side of the channel before and during this operation; and now, we can glimpse on how, why and by whom it was planned and executed.
If Their Finest was a bittersweet drama, and Dunkirk a gripping and fascinating war sequence; Darkest Hour is a well crafted and performed political biopic that, even though succeeds in having a good balance between interest, entertainment and historical rigor, it kind of lacks some truthful criticism towards quite a polemic figure as Winston Churchill was.
However, Darkest Hour narrates the man’s best moment and consequently it is fair to focus on his deeds rather than on the innumerable weaknesses and morally dubious previous and later actions. This two hours and five minutes long movie is set under the phantasmagorical umbrella of war but it’s definitely not a war movie. It is a political biopic with a great rhythm and flow that, despite a couple of over-the-top sequences (like Mr. Churchill’s mingling with the plebs on a tube coach), manages to explain one of the most moving, emotional and important moments of British’s history in a truthful and appealing way.
Darkest Hour’s release date on UK and Ireland will be January 12th. Merry Christmas.
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