Darkest Hour (2017)
Critic Consensus: Darkest Hour is held together by Gary Oldman's electrifying performance, which brings Winston Churchill to life even when the movie's narrative falters.
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Critic Reviews for Darkest Hour
"Darkest Hour" is a straightforward, day-by-day depiction of world-changing events, told with meticulous simplicity.
And yet for all that telling about how it was, the film feels much more like happy fantasy than detailed history, a fond look back on the lead-up to a moment of moral righteousness.
Churchill, by way of Darkest Hour, hands the actor some of the best speeches of his career, and Oldman brings them vividly to life.
"Darkest Hour" is a one man show for Oldman. And what a show it is.
Oldman brings a wicked wit and compassionate heart to the role, one for which he seems almost superhumanly suited for - and that's really saying something, consider how many great actors have played Churchill.
Darkest Hour invites viewers inside the heart and mind of a great leader but never really captures his deep rapport with the British people, which turned out to be one of his greatest political assets. Dunkirk takes a more populist approach.
Audience Reviews for Darkest Hour
The best about this look at the weeks when Churchill became prime minister in Britain, just as Hitler was conquering Western Europe, is that it doesn't mess up the telling. At the same time it telegraphs every single scene, and one can perceive some of the dramatis as little more than nationalist rhetoric with a eye towards the Academy Awards. The failure here is that the work is not as good as is advertised. On its own, away from the hoopla, it will become a schoolroom assignment the students will hate the teachers for, but some might actually learn something from.
As with many of the biopics I've seen recently, Darkest Hour is more focussed on delivering you the facts than getting you involved with the characters. It is an interesting idea to have the majority of the story revolve around the of whether or not to sue for peace. That as a core concept in so much as the question of "Do I take the guarantee of saving my country or do I take the risk of saving the world?" and beyond that "Is there even a right answer to that question? And who am I to decide something this big?" is a great philosophical centre for a movie. But I never felt like I knew why any of these people had the answers that they gave. I get that in a historical context, these aren't characters they are real life people, so they answers they had are the answers we see, but again, we are only given the "what", not the "why". Except you can throw all of that away because here comes Gary Oldman in his Oscar nominated transformation to make this movie 100% worth watching.
Great performance but nothing to write home about unfortunately!
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