You might expect a movie about Winston Churchill, directed by Joe Wright (who also helmed the worthy, slow-burn Oscar-winner Atonement), to be an ambling, deeply serious drama with a capital D. Instead, Darkest Hour is a peppy, surprisingly enjoyable dramatisation of the events of May 1940, as Gary Oldman’s newbie Prime Minister tries to decide how to deal with Adolf Hitler, while facing the almost impossible task of evacuating Britain’s armed forces at Dunkirk.
As a historical document it’s utterly compelling: you can’t help but cheer on Churchill as he battles fellow politicians who’d rather surrender to Hitler and Mussolini than fight them on the beaches. Oldman’s jowly prosthetics are incredible, as is his performance – although the whole thing is almost derailed by a cringe-worthy scene on a Tube carriage in which Winston has a little chinwag with ‘ordinary’ Londoners. That stumble aside, Darkest Hour is a pleasing, absorbing chronicle of a fascinating time in British history.
Release: 12 January 2018
From: Universal Pictures
Format: Theatrical Release
Age Rating: PG