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Well worth seeing just to watch Oldman's performance.
MartinHafer24 October 2017
At this point, "Darkest Hour" has an overall rating of 5.3. I do not understand this at all, but the film has not actually been released yet and has only been seen in film festivals. I assume the overall score will increase considerably--especially since the two reviews for it were quite positive.

Now I must point out that I am a retired history teacher and I consider Winston Churchill to be perhaps the greatest politician of the century. So, I clearly have a bias and predisposition towards liking the movie...especially if it's done well. Is it a crowd pleaser? Maybe not, as the average movie-goer (especially teens) might not enjoy this or care a lick about the film.

The story covers only a portion of the month of May, 1940...just before the fall of France during WWII. Prime Minster Chamberlain is about to be tossed out of office, as his appeasement strategy with Hitler has turned out to be completely stupid. In his place, some hope for Churchill to be the next Prime Minister...though some forces are working to depose him as soon as he comes to power. At the same time, the war is going as badly as it possibly can. Can Churchill survive this? Well, of course...duh, it's HISTORY!

The reasons to see this are two big ones....the film has achieved the look of 1940 beautifully and Gary Oldman provides an Oscar- winning performance in the lead. If he is not at least nominated for this top award, I will be completely shocked...and he really managed (along with ample prosthetics) to LOOK and SOUND like the great man. Great job all around...and a perfect film.
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Another Gary Oldman Triumph
normando4013 December 2017
It's a one man show about one of the towering figures of the 20th Century and what a show it is. Gary Oldman has been able to be Sid Vicious in "Sid And Nancy" with the same outstanding commitment and extraordinary results. Joe Wright, the gifted director of "Atonement" presents us with an irresistible version of Churchill through the magic powers of Oldman but sometimes he doesn't seem to trust the power of what he has in his hand. Eccentric cuts in the middle of a famous speech for instance and other stylistic distractions arrive with irritating frequency but that doesn't spoil. too much, the joy and fun of seeing Gary Olman in action. Also interesting to notice, Dunkirk provides a very moving moment for the second time this year.
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Outstanding even with some minor flaws
RNMorton23 December 2017
I cannot remember the last time I was in a movie and I said, gee I wish this movie would keep going because it's just so damn good. I don't really have to say anything more about Oldman beyond what's already been said, that was brilliant Academy Award work. Despite being a literalist on history and not enjoying Hollywood embellishments/contrivances that didn't really happen, I will repeat something I said on another movie (Patton): I am okay where a fictional event is one that could have happened (or maybe happened out of time sequence) where it is used more to show the persona of the character than to establish an historical fact. Notwithstanding this, the subway scene may have been a little much. Strong cast throughout, including the portrayers of King George VI, Chamberlain, Halifax and Churchill's lovely secretary (James). A must see for WW II buffs and appreciators of good cinema everywhere.
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Almost history
ferdinand193211 February 2018
As a film this is quite good; it's not dull, the performances are good, the production design is excellent, the script is a professional piece of work and even Oldman's make-up is not too distracting.

However, something is not right. If most people get their history from movies, this is concerning. It's obvious that actual events occurred with real people and what they did and said but in a movie this gets pasteurized into what smart people believe will be more thrilling, more sympathetic, more emotional. That process necessarily alters things into something that is even anachronistically rendered and therefore not in the record.

This defect occurs frequently in this movie , so it's not history but myth making. A good example is Churchill's dive into the Underground to meet the common person to steel his resolve. Now Churchill had a mixed view of the average voter, and he was a patrician, but even that aside, he did not need to take a Tube train survey to gauge opinion.

This scene is poached from Shakespeare's Henry V where the king goes among his soldiers the night before battle to hear them and take courage from their strength. Steal from the best is a good policy, but it's not history. It's Shakespearean history and that trades effect for accuracy too.

The audience is given this scene to present Churchill as an instrument of democracy; he's acting for what the people want, therefore he's doing the right thing. It's called pandering.

Well, it is just a movie.
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Wonderfully refreshing look at Churchill
michaeljtrubic25 September 2017
I'm sure I am not alone in having seen everything ever filmed about the man.

But this is nothing like I have seen before. He is so funny.

We see his ability to make jokes like never before and there is more here than just dry sarcastic references.

He keeps us in stitches. He must have told 25 jokes.

This film starts in the days when Chamberlain knows he cannot continue as prime minister, alongside the crippling uncertainty of his cabinet meetings, and through to when the entire country, as a result of his speeches, stands firmly behind Churchill as war leader.

What surprised me the most was how large a role the opposition party played in Churchill's rise to power.

Excellent supporting cast from those distinguished actors we have seen in many BBC productions and "Game of Thrones".

Ben Mendelsohn's portrayal of King George VI was stunningly well done.

A real delight at Tiff - too bad no Q&A for my screening.
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Split vote - so far
chong_an7 November 2017
At just under 1000 votes so far, I am stunned at the number of "1" votes. On the other hand, the 2nd-highest number of votes is for "10", so there is very much a love-it-or-hate-it quality to the voters.

It would be helpful if some of the "1" voters explained why they hated the movie.

This movie is about British backroom parliamentary politics, in the 1st month of Winston Churchill's prime ministership. With the war going badly, a rearguard of peaceniks is still trying to get a peace deal with Hitler, despite having been pushed out of power.

It certainly worked for me, a political junkie. If you are one too, this is for you. If not, maybe like the "1" and "2" voters, you might be bored to tears and should stay away.
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Brilliant and emotional
thomas-37915 November 2017
This film is absolutely brilliant from the acting to the sets..the editing is tight. Thrilling. It took me about 1 minute to accept Gary Oldham as Churchill...after that I was sold.

Probably my favorite film of 2017 so far. Pacing is superb. Historically pretty accurate

It's a must see for any WW2 fans, political fans and Winston Churchill fans.
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Historically fascinating, but most importantly filled with exhilarating energy, humour and passion throughout
themadmovieman3 December 2017
Not only is this a riveting account of one of the most important moments of the Second World War, but it's also an exhilarating drama that goes beyond being a simple biography by bringing humour, energy and passion to every moment. With a stunning central performance by Gary Oldman, confident and passionate directing from Joe Wright, and a brilliant screenplay from start to finish, Darkest Hour is a simply exceptional film.

When telling a story as well-known as that of Winston Churchill and the Second World War, being both exciting and historically accurate isn't always easy, but that's where the unique take on the historical drama of Darkest Hour comes in.

Yes, it does tell of the extreme intensity of the early days of the war, the political manoeuvring in Westminster as Churchill was appointed Prime Minister, and the very real and impending threat that the fall of Britain could very well mean the end of freedom-loving Western civilisation, which are all absolutely fascinating to watch unfold, but they're all parts of history that you arguably already know very well.

That's why the film's decision to bring a brilliant sense of humour and a strong passion to proceedings is so effective. The importance of the events being portrayed on screen is never downplayed, and there are indeed some very intense and emotionally powerful moments, but there's so much more to Darkest Hour than just history, something that made it such a refreshing watch compared to how most Oscar-bait biographies turn out.

Above all, what impressed me most about the film was the fact that it's just so funny. It's by no means a comedy, but this isn't a pompous and dry historical drama, but one that takes glee in pointing out the eccentricities in its main character, eccentricities which are undoubtedly a part of why Churchill is so lauded and respected to this day.

While the film praises Churchill's bulldog spirit in fighting the fight against the Nazis, it's always keen to show him in a slightly brighter light, almost as if he was a man who stumbled into the most important job in history by coincidence. In that, there are so many genuinely hilarious scenes as Churchill's quirky personality clashes with the more uptight politicians of Westminster, a part of the film that I felt not only made everything more entertaining, but helped to give the movie an incredibly refreshing energy, allowing me to see Churchill in a very relatable, personal light rather than just as a historical figure from a textbook.

As well as being downright hilarious at points, there's a real passion behind the film's depiction of the darkest hours of the war. With Churchill being forced over to opening peace talks with Hitler, the film does an incredible job at inspiring you to a point of fever pitch, fully backing Churchill's bulldog spirit to fight and defend freedom to the very last moment, meaning that the internal conflict he suffers throughout the film is such a riveting focal point.

This is an undoubtedly patriotic film, and heaps a lot of praise onto Churchill's gusto, but that doesn't mean it's overly jingoistic. There may be a case that Brits watching the film will feel more emotion from its incredible passion, but I still feel that most of that comes from how well the character of Churchill is developed throughout, from a bumbling, mumbling, lovable old man to a truly honest and principled leader.

Finally, we have to talk about Gary Oldman's performance, which is amazing. For one, thanks of course in part to the make-up and costume teams, it's pretty impossible to tell that you're watching Gary Oldman in this movie. But not only does he look nothing like Oldman, and so much more like Churchill, but everything about Oldman's performance, from the smallest details about Churchill to his fantastic passion and energy on screen, pulls you further and further into the moment, and creates an exceptionally convincing portrayal of the great man and the situation surrounding him, which I was blown away by.

Overall, I absolutely loved Darkest Hour. It's an undoubtedly riveting historical drama about a crucial turning point in global history, but more than that, it's full of incredible energy from start to finish, with amazing and still appropriate humour throughout combined with stunning patriotic passion, making for a genuinely exciting and properly entertaining film that does so much more than your typical Oscar-bait fare.
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Oldman's great; pity about the film.
MOscarbradley10 February 2018
When Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" it was as much for her make-up as it was for her acting, (it's actually one of her least interesting performances; more mimicry than anything else). The same can't be said of Gary Oldman's turn as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright's "Darkest Hour". It's a phenomenal performance that demolishes all previous Churchills. Yes, he looks the part thanks again to his hugely talented make-up artists and he has the voice off pat, but more importantly he gets inside Churchill's heart and head which is, perhaps, something of a surprise considering the material he's been given to work with is really rather third-rate.

Wright's film, which simply covers the month of May 1940 when Churchill was elected Prime Minister and saw the evacuation at Dunkirk has every cliche in the book including a disasterous scene when Winston decides to ride the Underground for the first time in order to gauge public opinion. This sequence is positively embarrasing though Oldman just about manages to carry it off. Elsewhere the film is very unevenly acted. The men have the best of it with both Ben Mendelsohn and Ronald Pickup impressing as the King and Neville Chamberlin respectively. On the other hand, Kristin Scott Thomas isn't given enough to do as a rather genteel Clemmie and Lily James makes for a very dull secretary. So then, very much a hit and miss affair worth seeing for Oldman's Oscar-winning performance, (they may as well put his name on it now), providing you are prepared for another lame history movie and Wright's poorest picture to date.
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I feel cheated
davidink20 February 2018
I really enjoyed the movie and am a big Oldman fan. But got sad and even angry when I read about how every event that cought your attention is not true. Never took place. Pure fiction. Like the train ride, or the verbal battles about peace negotiations, or who initiated Operation Dynamo, or peoples reactions to his speeches.

I can accept when movie makers make 5 things happen in one day that actually took place on different days or merge 5 peripheral persons into one, as they so often do, to give it better momentum. But to take liberties with historical facts, the ones that make the foundation of the movie. Stop doing that... It should be illegal.

And for those in a bad mood now: Check out "Young Winston" from 1972. AFAIK depicts truth well, and at least I was surprised to know about his youth.
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A historical travesty
mark-russell4315 January 2018
This film covers a period of real tension and drama. So why does the film have to invent fiction to tell the story? Perhaps modern film making prioritizes a flowing narrative over the truth, but to misrepresent so many people telling the story accurately would have provided more than sufficient content staggers me. Oldman plays his part as written well. Chamberlain and Halifax are quite unconvincing though and many of the scenes are so unrepresentative of what would have happened in the Britain of 1940 ruins the fictitious plot line. The number of historical inaccuracies are currently beyond counting, and many unecessary, for example Chamberlain was in pain in May 1940, but had yet to be diagnosed with cancer, and when he was he remained ignorant of the fact because his doctors elected not to tell him. Overall a huge let down.
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Very Disappointing
ian-whitehouse-126 January 2018
I expected so much more from this film but was totally disappointed. I didn't expect a documentary and any film has to enjoy some literary license but this is a work of sickly perfumed fiction which completely misrepresents the man to the point of unrecognizability. If the film is a portrayal of a man, then it is certainly not Churchill.

Churchill has to be understood in the light of his heritage and class. If a peripheral player initially, he was born into the ruling class. Like many only begrudgingly accepted into its ranks, he was therefore one of its strongest proponents. He believed he was born to rule just as much as commoners were born to die in the service of empire. The class system meant that he would never, ever have confided in someone he regarded as a commoner and the notion of him even addressing a black man is ludicrous. He was a committed racist firmly believing it to be the natural order of things. This is the man who, as a boy, simply wrote "Marlborough" on his entrance exam to Harrow believing this was enough to gain entry. It was.

Churchill was well known for summoning servants and government employees to action while he was toileting or in the bath. This was not because he was accessible, charismatic or comfortable with his body as portrayed in the film. Rather this was a man who simply didn't simply care what they thought because he was Churchill and they weren't.

The film quotes Churchill as supporting the marriage of Edward VIII to Wallis Simpson. In actuality Churchill was a pivotal character in opposing the marriage of Edward VIII to Wallis Simpson. Not because she was a divorcee and he was morally outraged (Churchill's father died of syphilis after a lifetime of philandering and his mother used sex as a social tool) but because he knew Edward would resign over it and he vehemently opposed Edwards desire to be an involved monarch. Simpson was widely believed to be having an affair with Von Ribbentrop (Hitlers foreign minister) and Churchill knew Hitler would use this to his benefit against a weak and easily influenced king. Churchill would never have been familiar with George VI and probably privately despised him as a weak and unprepared monarch. The royal family and many of their closest allies were closet supporters of Hitler believing him to be far preferable to the Communists who were a substantially more concrete threat. Churchill was utterly loyal to the throne and monarchy but George VI was only the current incumbent just as Edward VIII before him, had been.

The film portrays Halifax and Chamberlain as weak appeasers when in actuality their fears were the loss of a complete generation of men like that experienced in WWI. Horror was embedded deep within many politicians who had seen/survived active service during WWI and were desperate to not revisit that period. Chamberlain is recorded as believing Hitler would most likely break his word but knew he had no choice but to try and gain time for rearmament despite the cost to his own career and legacy.

It might not be a convenient truth but, successful evacuation of the troops at Dunkirk was solely because of 'Churchills' flotilla but probably because of Hitlers stated reluctance for a massacre. Hitler did not feel the British were the natural enemy (that was the communists) and that a massacre would negate the possibility of a agreement.

If Gary Oldham wanted to be Churchill, then he failed. Churchill was much more imposing, had a deeper voice with substantially more gravitas. Oldhams voice is thin and reedy and, at one point, he even adopts a regional accent. Churchill was a war monger, rude, inconsiderate, terribly ill mannered and selfish but would sacrifice himself in a second for the notion of service and empire. He was not your irascible but charming uncle as portrayed in this film.
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Riveting production despite its pat view of history
shanx2412 September 2017
We go to the movies to be gripped by powerful narratives presented with good scripts and moving imagery. This film has all of it, most especially a riveting performance by Gary Oldman.

The subject matter will clearly divide audiences thanks to its pat view of history: UK as the righteous hero and everyone else as inept -- Italians and French losers, Germans the evil fascists, US completely unmentioned, Canada the quiet prairie for monarchs to escape to -- in the still-somewhat- mysterious Dunkirk incident where Hitler could easily have tightened the noose and pushed UK over the edge of what was evidently a crushing defeat, but somehow allowed them the leeway to escape by civilian boats. There's next to no mention of the French army that stood its ground and valiantly sacrificed itself to win a couple of days for the Brits on the beach.

All that said, as a film, this is a gripping narrative with just the kind of insouciant wit you'd expect from Churchill. While movies such as "The Gathering Storm" with Albert Finney were more considered, Darkest Hour is the kind of production that wows awards juries and audiences. Worthy watch when it comes to a theater near you. I feel Nolan's "Dunkirk" would be richer if you saw it *after* Darkest Hour.
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A complete butchering of history - a great dissapointment
jacksoncb-342051 February 2018
For a film that is supposed to be based on a true story, this film represents a complete butchering of history for it is - at many points - factually and historically incorrect. Every inch was covered with falsehoods. All the official papers, minutes and biographies from those who worked with him at that time make clear that at no point did he consider entering into peace talks, even if the BEF at Dunkirk was destroyed he was determined that the country should fight on. He did not ride the tube asking the public for their opinions on continuing the fight; he did take the argument to continue the struggle to the Cabinet after pressure from Halifax and Chamberlain to enter talks with Hitler and received great support. It was not a gathering of MPs in Parliament. Oldman and the film failed miserably to catch the power and oratory of Winston's wartime speeches, please listen to the originals. Operation Dynamo was not conceived at the last minute as portrayed. There is not much in the film that is factually correct and there is too much to write about the inaccuracies in my review. All those who worked with Winston Churchill including those from the military always spoke of his great energy, presence, incredible workrate and ability to fit 2 days worth of work into a single day, they knew they were working with a political and oratorical goliath in history. None of this was portrayed or came across in the film.

Bottom line is it is a shame that many of those who watch this movie will come away thinking this was what Churchill was like and this was how history unfolded, which could not be further from the truth. Take it all with a fistful of salt. The film diminshes the man and his record in saving Britain and most likely the world from Nazi domination.

Equally, the Director and Producers have presented Winston Churchill - the greatest Briton of all time - as a bumbling, mumbling, indecisive, drunkard and in the process have sullied his name and done the great man a terrible disservice. The greates Briton of all time willbe spinning in his grave as I am after watching this trash. How dare they....
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"This is a film about resistance."
jbostrom-643-24996016 November 2017
At the Paris Theater premiere in NYC last night, Joe Wright concluded his introduction by saying, "This is a film about resistance." That brought immediate and enthusiastic response from the crowd. Oldman gives a stunning performance, but the entire ensemble is clearly caught up in the relevance of the work, not a false note anywhere. Powerful film celebrating Churchill as in touch with the resilience and grit of working class commoners. The villains here are the snobbish pacifist appeasers. Hard to say what American audiences will make of this. It could go either way. There's enough populist ammunition here to leave a huge chunk of the American political landscape as devastated as the castle in Calais.
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A pile of old tosh
ozjosh0314 January 2018
I've grudgingly allotted four stars for three of the leading performances. Gary Oldman certainly pulls out all the stops to deliver a performance that is convincing, colourful and entirely unsurprising. Yet he's also acted off the screen by Ben Mendelsohn every time Winston meets King George, for Mendelsohn gives a performance that is more under-stated, more human and less obviously manipulative. Oldman is also out-charisma'd whenever Kristin Scott Thomas glides into view as Clemmie. So for all its earnest Oscar-worthiness, Oldman's performance isn't even the best in the film. Acting aside, there is almost nothing to recommend Darkest Hour. It's burdened with clumsy plot exposition that sounds precisely like it's been cut and pasted from a history book. It's undercut by cheap, unconvincing special effects. And, most remarkably of all - even if you've somehow been sucked in by the amateur dramatics - it has one spectacularly ill-judged scene that instantly sinks the entire enterprise. You won't have any trouble spotting which scene I mean. You'll probably be laughing out loud or reaching for something to hurl at the screen. It's when poor anguished Winston takes the advice of the King and determines to ask the British people what to do. So he heads for the London Underground and - travelling just one stop east on the District Line! - chats with a cross-section of plucky Brits who all urge him to fight on. It couldn't be more ridiculous if one said "fight them on the beaches", the next said "fight them on the landing fields" , and the next "fight them in the fields". It actually couldn't be more ridiculous if they all then simultaneously broke into a song titled "We Shall Never Surrender" and Winston danced merrily with a couple of pearly kings and queens. It's a scene so mind-bogglingly awful that any respect you might have had for the film drains completely away and you spend the rest of the running time pondering just how something so awful was ever contemplated, much less actually staged and shot.
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Fantastic movie - really worth watching. Oldman deserved the Oscar
Prabhuraj12 May 2019
Clearly Oldman is the star of this film, fully convincing in his turn as Winston Churchill. The dialogue is amazing and the flow great as we see a charismatic Churchill who as harsh as he may seem, truly cared for his country. Hearing that the subway scene wasn't true did inevitably diminish its greatness for me, but that horrible ending! Out of nowhere! Left the movie on such a weird note.
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The Most Disappointing Film of 2017
bastille-852-73154727 December 2017
I had high hopes for this Winston Churchill biopic directed by Joe Wright, but it unfortunately fell well short of my expectations. It is simply an utter shame that while this is very far from the worst film of the year, it's undoubtedly the most disappointing one.

The film's narrative takes place during May 1940. The Nazis are beginning to take control of much of western Europe, and Winston Churchill is named Prime Minister after a dissatisfied government in Parliament convinces Neville Chamberlain to resign. Much has been said in the press about Gary Oldman's performance as Winston Churchill. While he does a fine job, the somewhat overdone nature of his performance makes clear that it is unfortunately not the Oscar slam-dunk performance we were all hoping for. The film's supporting cast, however, is quite good--as is the rapid but engaging pacing of the story's narrative.

Unfortunately, what makes "Darkest Hour" a miss is the sad truth that the film's script is a disaster. The film exhausts itself with virtually every cliché in the biopic/historical costume drama genres, such as: young female characters that basically do nothing except help the male protagonist, a large group of strangers introducing themselves to the protagonist after recognizing him, a sentimental climax meant to simply 'tie everything up' rather than make the audience reflect critically on the subject of the biopic, etc. The writing fails to address the points that made Churchill such an effective leader. All in all, while not terrible, this is a very bland biopic that was a huge letdown for me. 4.5/10
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Great acting. Rubbish film
lotty-9702531 March 2018
Rubbish film. Great acting Nothing like the events of what actually happened in World War Two
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shallow myth-making
magnuslhad14 March 2018
There is a lightness of touch to Joe Wright, a frivolity, that invades the tone of this film and sets it off-kilter. Any biopic takes on the challenge of creating drama and tension from events we may already be familiar with. This is perhaps more pronounced when it comes to such a titanic historical figure as Churchill. The film rightly invests its time in showing just how fraught the political struggle Churchill faced to fight rather than negotiate was. Unfortunately, Darkest Hour lacks complexity in its portrayal. Churchill shouts at a secretary, who becomes a cheer-leading personal assistant. His wife is similarly one note, admonishing him while managing to steadfastly encourage him at the same time. Halifax and Chamberlain are reduced to vaudeville villainy, while the king is a pompous buffoon. There are some clunky set pieces, most notably a cringe-worthy outing by Churchill on a Tube train to engage with the good folk of Britain. These include a black man, the only black man on the train, and possibly in the whole film, and the most earnest child in the history of Albion. Stalinist propaganda filmmakers would blush at such tokenism. Oldman opts for acting as impersonation rather than interpretation. It's a convincing impersonation, but still mimicry rather than artistry. Wright's depiction of Dunkirk in 'Atonement' had the showmanship of the circus ring, and has been devalued by Nolan's recent more authentic portrayal. Churchill's darkest hour will no doubt be re-visited and re-evaluated in the future when a filmmaker more in tune with the material takes it on.
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Oldman's Triumph
llareggub22 December 2017
Garry Oldman first came to my notice as Sid. He now steps into Albert Finney's gigantic shoes, and does not disappoint. But a note of disapproval- it was not the Labour Party which brought down Chamberlain in 1940, it was Leo Amery, single handed, with the greatest, most passionate Cri de Coeur ever heard in a parliament until the Man himself unleashed the 18" guns of the English Language. P.S. I should have mentioned Sir Roger Keyes turning up to the debate in Full Dress. A bit of Drang for Amery's Sturm. But it was Chamberlain's own party that delivered the Coup de Gras: Greenwood just sank the boot into the corpse.
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I wasn't' impressed
buddrud-256-43204112 April 2018
Why wasn't I impressed? Gary Oldman is an exceptional actor. His variety of characters through the years has been amazing. But his portrayal of Winston Churchill seemed...off. I feel I've seen better. Bob Hoskins in the Mini-Series 'When Lions Roared' (Thought John Lithgow did a much better FDR than Churchill in 'The Crown'). Hoskins was both brooding and triumphant, as Winston was. And he genuinely fit (physically and emotionally) into the man he was portraying. Then there was Brian Cox in the Mini-Series 'The Gathering Storm'. He too captured Churchill's moods in a way that very few others could.

Oldman missed something. Sure, his acting was great, but I believe it to be an 'overplay'. Instead of capturing the essence of Churchill he sensationalized him, making him excited and over agitated far too often. Having seen many portrayals of Churchill, and reading quite a lot about him over my life, this version seemed entirely too....fictional. I think they could have done better.
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Fantastic Performance
claudio_carvalho1 February 2018
It is impressive how The World War II can still produce great films after almost eighty year. "Darkest Hour" is an example, showing the biography of Winston Churchill in 1940 when Hitler was invading and dominating the Western Europe. But the film works mainly because of the fantastic performance of Gary Oldman. It is amazing how this actor incorporates the image we have of the great British leader in archival footages. Gary Oldman really deserves the Oscar! Kristin Scott Thomas is also impressive in the role of Churchill's beloved wife Clemmie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Destino de uma Nação" ("The Fate of a Nation")
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I never tire of watching this!
AlsExGal26 August 2018
This biopic of a very narrow period in Winston Churchill's life - May 1940 to be exact - was probably made to earn British actor Gary Oldman the academy award, but man, did he ever earn it! This film won Oscars for Best Actor for Oldman and for makeup, and I'd say they definitely earned that. Great trouble is taken to make sure you believe you are looking right at Sir Winston. Oldman literally disappears into the part.

The film opens with Parliament in open rebellion over Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's failure to deal with Hitler and the opposition party demanding his resignation. Chamberlain wants Halifax to replace him, another appeasement advocate cut from the same cloth as he, but Halifax refuses saying his "time has not yet come". So Winston's party picks him literally - while holding their noses - because nobody else wants the job. And for good reason. Hitler is knocking over European countries with the ease of dominoes and the entire British army is trapped at Dunkirk, with so many damaged ships blocking the harbor that no other ship can get into it to rescue them.

Next we meet Oldman's portrayal of Sir Winston. He is a man of enormous appetites - food, drink, cigars - and sometimes tremendous temper. His spending brings him to the brink of bankruptcy multiple times. His party doesn't like him. The king resents him for how he advised his brother when he was planning to marry Wallis Simpson. And Chamberlain and Halifax STILL want to appease Hitler and because Churchill does not, they are working to undermine him, particularly with the king.

The film uses two obvious plot devices that are probably not based in fact. One is Churchill's young secretary who at first he scares to death with his tantrums, but later the two become close as he softens his approach with her . The other is a trip into a subway to get "the man on the street's opinion" about Hitler that just seems eye-rollingly over the top. There is a baby that the mother oddly says looks like Churchill, what seems like an interracial couple in 1940, and a woman who, from the way she is dressed, appears to be a socialist. Yet they to a man, to a woman, to a child, encourage Churchill to fight Hitler to the end. This fictitious event seems to be stolen from Shakespeare, but if you must steal, then steal from the best.

Honorable mention has to go to Kristen Scott Thomas as Clementine, Winston's supportive wife who is often overlooked by history. Also deserving mention is Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, who is portraying a man much more comfortable as monarch than he was portrayed in Then King's Speech, but then this is not his story.

Yes, it is not historically accurate, but if Churchill did confront the situations and people he confronted in this film, he probably would have acted exactly as he was portrayed here.

I knock off one star for not at least TRYING to explain to the audience WHY - with Hitler obviously not trustworthy - members of Parliament would not realize the choice was between slavery and war. The answer is that WWI cost Britain a generation of young men. Literally every British young man who went to war either died or was maimed. And in the end the entire conflict seemed like it had been for nothing. And so many of the British - and more of the Americans - did not want to go through this a second time with the exact same country, not realizing until it was almost too late that the Kaiser was no Hitler.
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darkest hour
theta308 March 2018
Am I the only one not impressed by Gary Oldman's performance? Half the time I did not understand what he says as he mumbles or whispers. And I understand the other actors, so it is not a sounding issue. The portrayal of Churchill is as feeble and old, which I don't think he was since it takes strength to carry on what he did. The make up is almost as thick as Bram Stoker's Dracula. We know Churchill was spiritual and cantankerous, but during the entire movie I only hear one or two real spiritual sayings. A more authentic, lively and better performance is given by Brian Cox in the movie "Churchill".

Other aspects: cinematography is quite good ( due also to the hefty budget). Music is also top notch. An emotional crescendo is built up by the director up to the final, strings attached, and I recognize I was carried out by it myself. A common gimmick nowadays is to introduce the perspective of a "common people", in this case, the typist girl. Another is (due to political correctness) to introduce a non-white person, so a black man has the longest frame time in the underground scene. Some scenes are weird( eg the prime minister searching for a reference from Cicero-and we never find out what the quotation was; He sends a telegram to an officer in Calais,but the officer stares at German airplanes, we don't know his reaction)
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