‘Darkest Hour’ Review

Darkest HourDarkest Hour is a British biographical war drama film directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten. The film stars Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup. The story follows Winston Churchill during his first days as Prime Minister, while Hitler closes in on Britain during World War II. Joe Wright does a great job at directing many of the scenes in this film. He manages to both capture the feeling in the room and display everyone’s thoughts without even using words. The costume design and makeup in the film give the audience a feel for being in a WWII era Europe. Getting this right is important for any period piece. Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in this film. It looks as if the studio went back in time and snagged Churchill from 1940 and asked him to play himself in their film. The way Oldman Oldman spoke and looked was identical to the way Churchill sounded. He may have overdone it on his mumbling, but he was still entertaining. His interaction with the other political contemporaries is interesting to see and hear. Kristin Scott Thomas is quite enjoyable as Clementine Churchill. Her role is more comical and involved than expected. Due to Churchill handling a lot of his business at home, the audience is treated to much of their interaction. She helps bring out more of the emotional side of Churchill that isn’t often seen by the public. Ben Mendelsohn is enjoyable as King George VI in a role that is more of an extended cameo. In his few scenes with Churchill and other characters, Mendelsohn manages to deliver a few laughs and heartening lines. It would be great to see an entire film about King George VI with Ben Mendelsohn in the starring role. Lily James is fine as Churchill’s personal secretary Elizabeth Layton, but her character feels very unnecessary to the plot. Due to the film focusing more on the politics of Britain during World War II, there isn’t any action. A two-hour film based on war that doesn’t show footage of the war should be able to hold its own with dialogue and drama. While Darkest Hour does have many dramatic moments, the dialogue isn’t intriguing nor engaging enough to keep the viewer’s interest, so at times the film lags and feels slow. I give Darkest Hour a Normal 6.5/10. The film serves as a suitable history lesson that would make an educational double feature with Dunkirk.

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