Winston Churchill’s been curiously prolific in film. Whether in the shadows of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, or a Brian Cox-centric Churchill, both 2017 releases, Darkest Hour somewhat stands out as the director Joe Wright’s explores the nature of artifice through drama (which you might have also caught on with his films Atonement and Hanna). And Gary Oldman proves the glue as Churchill which holds everything together.
With that in mind, Churchill’s flaws definitely don’t seem shied away from, his alcoholism a key point. Yet, his humour and public speaking strengths are paid attention to all the same. Other cast members such as Ben Mendelsohn – King George VI – (no Colin Firth this time, sorry), and Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s wife Clementine, and Lily James as his secretary Elizabeth, meanwhile just about scratch up to Oldman’s acting (he’s that good).
The downside to such good acting is the movie feels a bit indulgent as time goes on, reasonably regular cutaways to birds-eye shots just one example. Luckily, again especially with Oldman, the acting stands out enough that we keep our attention. Surprise surprise Darkest Hour‘s getting Oscar buzz.