It’s a deliciously unsubtle testament to the power of words and their infinite capacity to inspire.
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Darkest Hour is pure, uncut Oscar bait that goes through every bullcrap great man biopic platitude imaginable in its two-hour runtime. The reason to rush to such a harsh judgement is perhaps because it’s so damn hard to understand the actual reason for making this film in the first place other than racking up gold statues.
Few would argue that Oldman isn’t one of the finest actors of his generation, but this is a tour de force portrayal that will define his body of work for decades to come.
There aren’t thrilling dramatic insights to be found here, but Wright’s showboating is unflaggingly watchable.
The film reinforces only the most simplistic and patriotic vision of Churchill, its closed-off view of the man reminiscent of the many tracking shots that wind through the underground tunnels of the U.K.‘s war command, constantly peeking into rooms with classified meetings as doors are abruptly closed to keep them secret
Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Churchill is among the best to reach the screen. With the help of makeup, Oldman immerses himself so deeply in the role that the actor disappears.
Gary Oldman is terrific as Churchill, conveying the babyishness of his oddly unlined face in repose, the slyness and manipulative good humour, and a weird deadness when he is overtaken with depression.
Wright is both a virtuoso filmmaker and a natural showman, interpreting the screenplay as no other director could have possibly imagined it.
McCarten’s scene writing is tart and efficient and Wright infuses the drama with unquestioned energy. But this is a film in which every point and meaning is hit directly on the nose.
This is a film which breathes life, as well as alcohol fumes, into history. Like its central character, Darkest Hour has “mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.”