“Darkest Hour” Review ✦✦✧✧✧

12 January, 2018

Director: Joe Wright
Screenwriter: Anthony McCarten
Director of Photography: Bruno Delbonnel
Gary OldmanLily JamesKristin Scott Thomas

Synopsis: Left to deal with the reality of wartime devastation across Europe, freshly appointed Prime Minister Winston Churchill searches for a way to keep Britain from surrendering to the enemy, facing stark opposition while wrestling his inner demons.

Darkest Hour Review:

Unremarkable awards season flutter with the same breathy stench that “The King’s Speech” wafted in our direction over seven years ago, “Darkest Hour” is nap-inducing quasi-history with an attractive finish, framed without fault yet a slave to its primary ingredients. An Oscar bait recipe with a surprising weakness for comedy, the film embraces its ‘up yours’ side a little too much, presenting Churchill as more prankster than minister in a time where his every move has a critical impact on the future of his country. Accurate in theory but questionable in execution, Joe Wright has fun in unpacking Churchill’s unique breed of patriotism but he often skews the tone to fit outlandish notions of a senile drunkard with an office full of enemies.

A man of vice chosen without support and left to fight his own battle, “Darkest Hour” believes in victory while opting out of the war itself, retreating from the horrors of The Blitz and leaving us with two hours of Downing Street misery at the whim of the advancing German army. Culminating with scenes that should be in the middle but are thought more sophisticated at the end, “Darkest Hour” is the film it wants to be rather than the film we want to see; a family-friendly yawn-inducing biopic with a level of diversity and ground-level patriotism that Churchill likely never saw with his own eyes.

An already award-winning performance aided by prosthetic jowls and added belly fat, “Darkest Hour” sees a great make-up job disguised as a memorable history piece, creating “Downfall” without true dismay as Gary Oldman mumbles and moans while in the company of an impressive support cast. Beaten to the punch by last year’s “Dunkirk,” “Churchill,” and monarchy master-series “The Crown,” which depicts the closing moments between Churchill and King George VI as mere precursor to its opening season, the film does a far better job of putting us to sleep than informing us of that which we didn’t already know, giving us a mere glimpse of war in action with little more to write home about.


Review Date
Darkest Hour