Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, Ben Mendelsohn
Written By: Anthony McCarten
Directed By: Joe Wright
Buy On Amazon.com
The latest Academy Award nominated movie is The Darkest Hour, which should give Gary Oldman an Oscar for his performance as Winston Churchill. The movie is also a fitting, unofficial companion movie to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
The Darkest Hour takes place when Hitler’s forces are making their way towards Britain. Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) becomes Prime Minister, and is already being question left and right by King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn), Lord Halifax (Stephen Dillane) and the rest of his party. It’s up to Churchill to lead the nation and decide what to do about the incoming threat of Hitler.
Gary Oldman is a good actor and I like him in most things but honestly, not sure he was right for this role. He didn’t really sound like Winston Churchill as much as other people have done in the past. His Gary Oldman voice would peak through his dialogue and speeches and kind of took me out of the moment. From what I remember of Churchill’s voice, it sounded a lot more deeper I suppose. Gary did nail the lisp or whatever you want to call that Churchill would pronounce some words. Was Christian Bale busy? Christian is already fat from playing Dick Cheney in an upcoming movie. The casting is what it is and Gary will probably get an Oscar for it. I just thought someone else could have been better. Not saying he was terrible but not what I was expecting. I thought Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI was good, and Stephen Dillane was excellent as he usually is. Between this and Baby Driver, I’m really liking Lily James and looking forward to seeing her in more movies in the future.
One thing I did notice was how beautifully shot the movie was. It had interesting camera angles and pans. Shots from the top of stairways and then pans down to Churchill. Shots of just Churchill talking on the phone and the rest of the picture is black except him talking on the phone. Little things like that make the movie beautiful. The speeches in the movie were good, but perhaps my favorite scene is when Churchill escapes from his car and visits the locals on the London Underground. I don’t believe that ever happened per say but it’s known that he would do stuff like that. Either way, it’s an effective scene that gives some personality to Winston Churchill.
The extras include audio commentary with director Joe Wright, a quick featurette about Gary Oldman becoming Churchill and a featurette about Churchill’s beginnings as being Prime Minister, the story, the locations and all that stuff that you’ll see in longer featurettes, squeezed into an 8 minute one. The featurettes could have been longer and gone more in depth with stuff. Would have been cool to include a historical featurette on Churchill, the blitz and other things about WWII. There’s also a DVD and digital HD code included, but that’s usually the standard these days.
The Darkest Hour isn’t Best Picture material but it’s still a good movie. While Gary Oldman does a decent job as Churchill, I would have preferred someone else to play him. I’m still waiting for someone to mashup this and Dunkirk on YouTube. It will be a long movie but would be interesting to see.
Gary Oldman: Becoming Churchill
Into Darkest Hour
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Bottom Line: Beautifully shot but not entirely sold of Gary Oldman as Churchill
Running Time: 125 mins