Darkest Hour is a biopic about British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s first few days in office.
A porked-up Gary Oldman does Churchill, who assumes office as Adolph Hitler and the Nazis have British and French troops pinned down at Dunkirk. Some in the government want Churchill to appease Hitler and come up with some sort of diplomatic settlement. “He can have Europe, just leave us alone” is the message sent to Churchill by many politicians and a lot of the people of Britain.
Oldman is exceptional as Churchill and plays him as a deeply flawed human being with an alcohol problem that adds to his odd lifestyle. Oldman waddles through the movie mumbling most of his lines. His sometimes tortured performance works.
Churchill — as history notes — didn’t fold. Darkest Hour shows how difficult it was for Churchill to balance duty to country with duty to humanity and the duty he had to the people of his country. All of it comes to a head in one of the film’s best and most human scenes when the prime minister connects with the people. That scene worked. Big time. Not much else does.
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Movie name: ‘Darkest Hour’
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some violence. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.