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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Darkest Hour

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5sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT Judy Thorburn

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5lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT


Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in Joe Wright's historical drama Darkest Hour, based on the true story about the British Prime Minister's struggles and ultimate triumph during World War II.

With a film resume that includes such varied roles as Dracula (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”), Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”), Beethoven (“Immortal Beloved”) Lee Harvey Oswald (“JFK”) and others, the actor has proven to be a chameleon in which he undergoes a physical transformation, totally investing himself in the character. As Churchill, once again, the versatile actor, disappears into another persona, this time bringing the late, great British leader back to life. Unrecognizable beneath the heavy, but realistic, prosthetic makeup, thinning white hair and padded body suit, and nailing his voice and mannerisms, Oldman delivers a phenomenal performance that should rightly garner him an Oscar for Best Actor.

The story is set during four crucial weeks in 1940 during World War II and centers around the enormous task newly appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill faced after his predecessor, an ineffectual Neville Chamberlain is forced to resign. Hitler's army has invaded Holland and Belgium, the fall of France is imminent, and with the threat of invasion to Britain looming, Churchill's opposing party, led by Chamberlain, has waged war against Churchill and his policies. Rather than fight Hitler, Churchill's war cabinet, which included political foes Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax, wanted him to negotiate a peace deal in order to obtain, what they believed, would be the best conditions as possible, to which Churchill vehemently rejected, angrily shouting, “You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.” Determined not to surrender, the courageous Churchill, with not one advisor on his side, said no, refused to give up, and insisted on “fighting with everything we have” even though defeat seemed inevitable.

Director Wright (“Pride & Prejudice,” “Atonement”) has done a masterful job meticulously recreating the heated debates in Parliament, Churchill's speeches in the House of Commons, behind the scenes as Churchill, feeling the full weight of the world on his shoulders, struggles with his decision that changed the course of world history, and the now famous radio speech to the nation (“We shall fight on the beaches …”) that preceded the evacuation of British troops at Dunkirk (reenacted in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, now in release).

The excellent cast of supporting players include Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill's devoted, supportive wife Clementine, Lily James as his personal secretary/typist Elizabeth Layton to whom he dictates his speeches and letters, Ronald Pickup as Neville Chamberlain, Stephen Dillane as Viscount Halifax, and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI. Mention must also be given to the superb editing, gorgeous cinematography, lighting, costumes and set design, all worthy of Oscar consideration.

When it comes down to it, there is no debating this is Oldman's film. As one of the greatest actors of our time, portraying one of history's greatest leaders of the free world, he is at the core of Darkest Hour, a superbly crafted, inspiring film, that is without a doubt, one of the best films of 2017. - get some good Joomla extensions now!