Critic - No.150
Director: Joe Wright
Casts: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James
Language: English
Genre: Biography / Drama / History

During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman), who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler or fight against an incredible odd. 

Following the grand success of Nolan’s vision on one of the most important historical moment in Britain, Joe Wright extends his spectacular glimpse he showed in Atonement into a full-fledged film. This time Wright displays the other side of the channel where Britain’s armed forces were on the verge of being wiped out in 1940. 

Without experimenting too much on the presentation, the film maker follows a proven straight forward template for biopics with meticulously executed visuals. By now Wright can be considered as one of the best period film directors we have in this time. 

What makes ‘Darkest Hour’ charming is Wright’s touches on every dimension of Churchill, particularly his humours face that makes him enduringly beloved. The exchanges between him and his new secretary is one of an important sub plot that brings out a significant changeover at the most unexpected tensed moment. Other than Lily James, other supporting actors look insipid and their sub plots are more one dimensional and literally functional. 

The evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk being Churchill’s first uphill task to fight over, Wright crafts out a thin walkover between truth and lie which is brilliantly portrayed by Gary Oldman. For Oldman, this film will be an undoubted glory not only in the accolades table but also in his career stand. He transcends into Churchill very quickly and involves us into the crisis right away.

Technically remarkable, ‘Darkest Hour’ boasts with a detailed craftsmanship in many departments such as costumes, make-up, cinematography and music. These strong elements often aid the film maker to blur the line and immerse us into the 1940 universe. 

The London subway scene will be remembered dearly as one of the most entertaining scene of the film where Churchill enjoys a fleeting connection with the everyday people that makes him more assured with his decision. The interstitial encounters between Churchill and his wife Clementine reveals us his tenderness whereas his moments in the parliamentary shows us his loud theatrical instinct. 

As much as the film sparkles with Joe Wright’s sincere direction, the middling second half banks too heavily on Oldman’s performance than the flow of narration. The tension looks more stretched than it should be, testing the patience at times. That said, Wright pays back with a rousing, majestic finale the film deserves. 

Banked majorly on the performance of Gary Oldman, ‘Darkest Hour’ is a technically rich bio epic that safely yet neatly depicts once of the most defying moment in Britain’s political history. 



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