It’s February again, somehow. So I had better write another blog post before my 100 plus followers forget me. Yeah I said 100 plus! There has been an influx of new follows to the site as of recent and I must thank you all for the support, why not stay a while and read my latest movie review…
It’s 1940, and Great Britain is on the back foot of a crushing European Invasion from Germany. Their forces are in retreat and have been pushed back. Many of the soldiers are pinned down in either Calais or Dunkirk.
Back on British soil, the government is in turmoil. The current Prime Minister and his support is in disarray (quite like today but on a lesser scale). There are calls for a new Prime Minister, and that is where our story begins…
I imagine this film will be used in schools for many years to come. It begins much like a documentary as the credits open showing black and white images of war over a silent soundtrack, nobody in the busy cinema made a sound or rustled a bag of M&M’s. Quickly we are taken back to a time full of uncertainty, a time not far from our own.
A raucous crowd of politicians are gathered in London’s Houses of Parliament and call for the current Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) to step down. This is so a coalition government can be formed. We soon find ourselves introduced to the man who gets the job, Winston Churchill via Gary Oldman in what will probably be his finest hour in acting.
Now I’m a 90’s kid, I never knew what Winston Churchill was really like apart from footage of the past, but I can honestly say I believed it was him throughout and not Gary Oldman who brings an assertive but endearing take on one of history’s greatest ever leaders.
We don’t just see him as a leader who can talk the talk, we see Churchill behind closed doors, we see him toiling over speeches not only he writes but with his assistant Elizabeth Layton played by Lily James in a just as convincing role. In fact the whole cast were convincing throughout and delivered a masterclass in not only history, but of those who wrote it.
There were recurring scenes throughout the film as Churchill met with King George IV depicted by Ben Mendelsohn in what is another Oscar worthy shout in this film. It showed their relationship build from the ground up. We saw Churchill battle his own war cabinet, whom he selected himself and yet another great performance comes from the one true king of Westeros Stannis Baratheon; Stephen Dillane (Viscount Halifax).
Darkest Hour is a simple film and a complex film at the same time. It’s a simple nod to history but shows the complexity of how the world achieved peace through sacrifice. It stands as a reminder to not only great leaders but the people on the ground who experienced war first hand. I guarantee you will laugh out loud and be moved emotionally.
There were some fantastic scenes depicting the times of struggle and showing the mood of people on the streets and London underground. What I liked the most was indeed the amount of powerful quotes in this film (below).
My verdict is this film is must see for the history lesson, but you’ll stay for the performances.
King George VI: How do you manage drinking during the day?
King George VI: One never knows what’s going to come out of your mouth next. Something that’ll flatter, something that’ll wound.
Winston Churchill: My e-emotions are unbridled. A wildness. In the blood. I share with my father. And my mother also. We lack the gift of temperance.
Churchill: Those who never change their mind never change anything.