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How much do you know about Winston Churchill? Me? Not much. Well, aside from the fact that he played a big role in the liberation of the stranded soldiers in Dunkirk from Nazi forces, that’s it. Joe Wright’s biographical film took a piece from this historical point and put the man at the center of it all. Gary Oldman delivered a nuanced portrayal of the historical man.

 | Photo: Focus Features
Oldman delivers a phenomenal performance as Churchill in The Darkest Hour| Photo: Focus Features

History Lesson

The Darkest Hour focused at the moment of Churchill’s appointment as the new Prime Minister of the British Parliament. The thought of him leading a nation has been faced with such disdain- primarily due to his harsh and crass persona. However, the house was divided between keeping it peaceful with the Nazis or standing up to them. Churchill picked the latter and became a true beacon of hope for the whole nation engulfed in darkness.

In hindsight, the film is a straight up history lesson. And that, it is. Wright, however, directed his film in such a way that it would not feel like sitting in an hour-long history class. The cinematography, costumes, production design, and make up elevated the quality of the film. There is no surprise in it receiving Oscars nominations in those categories.

Lily James shines in The Darkest Hour. | Photo: Focus Features
Lily James shines in The Darkest Hour. | Photo: Focus Features

Stars Shine The Brightest

In every political drama, the biggest challenge is being awake till the end. I am guilty of this. I slept through some. You can’t blame me. Most political dramas are just pure talking with little to no drama, conflict, or exposition. The Darkest Hour is no different. It came out of the same cookie cutter with one exception- the acting.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. | Photo: Focus Features
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. | Photo: Focus Features

Lily Collins, Kristin Scott-Thomas, and Ben Mendelsohn, exuded incredible presence on screen with their roles but Gary Oldman shone all throughout. He did not act as Churchill, he did not mimic him either. He was Churchill. The stance, the way he spoke- everything was spot-on. Watching him was uncanny to a point. It was a true measure of an actor studying a character to the core.

The historical reference and the plot’s relevance affirms that The Darkest Hour comes at a perfect time. It is inspiring and is oozing with hope. Also, Gary Oldman delivers a phenomenal performance that glued my attention till the  end!

Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily Collins, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn
Binge-level: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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