Darkest Hour

Looking at Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour as Winston Churchill and then trying to remember his face as inspector Gordon or Sirius Black (two characters people of my generation would easily remember) can really shock you. The flawless prosthetic makeup and the amazing acting display of Gary Oldman are the best things about Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. With a very limited space to create a drama out of real events, what Joe Wright has managed to do is to give us glimpse on the peculiar behavior of the former British prime minister.

As Hitler’s invasion was making Europe weaker by each day, the English parliament had lost faith in their Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. In that situation the king invited Mr. Winston Churchill who wasn’t anyone’s favorite at that point to be the Prime Minister. The film shows us the difficult task that came in front of Mr. Churchill and how he began his successful moves in the Second World War.

The content of the movie is limited to a really small time of Mr. Churchill getting elected as the prime minister to the point he makes that famous speech. The problem with that portion is that it is very hard to crack the intensity of the situation when you are focusing too much on the diplomatic decisions. At one point Joe Wright has created this scene to instill patriotism in to the movie by taking the witty PM into an underground train. These sorts of deliberate things reduce the quality of the film on a script level. But what was fabulous was Mr. Gary Oldman’s performance and Joe Wright’s signature making style.

If this movie gets the academy award for best actor and best makeup artist, I won’t be amazed at all. Gary Oldman not just transforms physically into Winston Churchill he becomes that witty, angry, adamant politician Churchill was in a flawless way. The climax speech, the anger he shows at Edward Wood and the sort of innocence he shows in certain vulnerable scenes etc. were just spectacular. The two hour long movie is largely concentrating on Mr. Churchill and even within the limited time they got, the rest of the characters manage to stay in our minds. Kristin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill, Ben Mendelsohn as George VIth,  Lily James as Elizabeth Layton and Stephen Dillane as Edward Wood were some of the memorable performances in this film.

Winston Churchill is a controversial figure and making a biopic on him is a tricky thing as the bias would get questioned. The writer of the film Anthony McCarten has taken an area in the history that looks at the strategy of Mr. Churchill in facing the crisis. Joe Wright uses top angle shots, some static shots which reminded me of stage plays (the call with Franklin Roosevelt) and some lengthy shots to depict the actual scenario of UK at that point. The background score adds energy to the key moments in the movie. Kazuhiro Tsuji’s prosthetic makeup for Gary Oldman was just incredible.

I won’t call Darkest Hour as a great film. Because of the phase it is focusing, there are obvious limitations that they couldn’t overcome. But there is no denying in the fact that Gary Oldman was simply fabulous in becoming the character and this will always be an acting master class for aspiring actors.

Rating: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

There is no denying in the fact that Gary Oldman was simply fabulous in becoming the character and this will always be an acting master class for aspiring actors.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.

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