The Oscar nominated Darkest Hour is a study of the early days of the war as Winston Churchill steps up to become Prime Minister with the weight of the world, and the fate of Western Europe, on his shoulders.
As someone with a deep interest in all things WWII I found the film particularly interesting as it takes a closer look at the man at the helm, fighting against many that opposed him to do what he believed was right for the country.
Many war films focus on action but don’t expect that from this film as it’s much more to do with the political struggles of Churchill, as well as taking time to look at his personal life. This is key to understanding such an important figure in our history and is done so with great detail, research and in a very satisfying way.
Joe Wright (director) is careful not to show Churchill as some kind of invincible, untouchable man, but takes time to show his fragility and humane side. He’s a man simply doing his very best in the utmost difficult situations, something that feels very noble and inspiring.
Kristin Scott Thomas’ role as Clemmie (Churchill’s wife) and Lily James as Elizabeth Layton play crucial roles in bringing this more human side of Churchill’s character out, both providing excellent performances in order to do so. Despite Thomas’ small amount of screen time she’s a very crucial part to the film.
Now to the man himself… Gary Oldman is incredible as Winston Churchill.
Oldman provides a truly captivating performance with real heart, passion and humanity that comes across as fantastically true to life, and wonderfully inspiring. As well as this, Oldman accurately provides Churchill’s charming nature and sense of humour, something that is often regarded as a key trait of the man.
The changes that Oldman undertook to take on this role has truly paid off. He’s fully deserving of his Golden Globes and BAFTA wins and I have no doubt he’ll walk away with the Oscar.
Furthermore, the makeup and hair department cannot be ignored for their phenomenal work on this film. They transformed Oldman physically into Churchill, allowing his performance to be that much more impactful and important. They nailed the time period, costumes, makeup and they too deserve recognition at the Academy Awards.
Despite a slight lull in the middle of the film, possibly due to the political weight and focus with very little of humour and action to break up a lot of heavy topics, this film is a plays a key period in British history, and an inspiring, powerful figure.
Expect Oldman to be gracing the stage with a ‘V’ for Victory at the Academy Awards.