Kyle Langenbach

Review - "Darkest Hour"

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While I don't think this should win best picture, Oldman should win best actor. He didn't play Churchill, he was Churchill (a la Daniel Day Lewis in basically every role he takes on)

The story details the few weeks leading up to the battle of Dunkirk in May of 1940, where Churchill is abruptly named Prime Minister. Seeing how he had to overcome a lot of resistance and ignorance in the govt, and then weave his way through some incredibly difficult and gut wrenching decisions - like sending 4,000 men to their deaths in order to save 380,000 - was pretty intense. 

Given the gravity of the situation with Hitler advancing into France and Belgium, with England being next, it's not hard to create a tense atmosphere. Oldman chews the scenery right and left and takes no prisoners. But he's not all bluster and fire - we also see the human and more vulnerable side of him as well. His relationship with his wife and his assistant showed him to be very much a flawed yet compassionate person at times...and, someone who like the rest of us sometimes doubts himself. But he claws his way to his ultimate place in history as one of the greatest wartime leaders.

Long/short - wIthout his incredible performance, I don't think the film is anything special. It was shot well, the pace was good, sound, etc., but this is one of those times where story really does equal character. And with someone as complex and eclectic as Churchill, set against the true story of the imminent threat of destruction by the Nazi regime, it doesn't need much else. He just had to pull us into the fray with him and have us hold on for the ride.

Not much else to say - just go see it for Oldman.

Grade: A-

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