Darkest Hour (2017) Review 

2.5/5* Shivs Show | Siobhan Divers

Dir: Joe Wright 

125 mins 

Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, Ben Mendelsohn.

Given the discussions over the last few days about Churchill on social media and on tv, I decided to watch Darkest Hour and see how ignorant or representational it is…

What could have been a complete insight and filmic reenactment of one of the Britain’s most iconic historical figures, is reduced to being a slow-paced biopic which starts too late in the story, missing out context and key details about Churchill’s character.

Set in 1940’s Britain during World War Two, Darkest Hour offers an insight into Churchill’s life as the newly appointed Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Directed by Joe Wright, the film’s cinematography is incredible as is the film’s central performances.

Gary Oldman’s performance is outstanding and he embodies Churchill entirely – his behaviour, mannerisms, voice and demeanour. Oldman is continuously captivating and has proved time and time again, his acting capabilities.

The supporting cast are equally as enthralling though – Kristin Scott Thomas plays Clementine Churchill, his wife while Lily James plays Elizabeth Layton, his personal secretary. Both are compelling in their roles however their performances are sadly overlooked (Kristin Scott Thomas was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the British Academy Film Awards though).

In terms of the story and plot developments, there’s historical inaccuracies and and things mostly ignored or missed out of the film entirely. It’s also not entirely realistic, though it’s a dramatisation so this is to be expected.

In one scene in particularly, quite key in the story, Churchill is shown taking the underground – something he rarely did and something he almost certainly didn’t do during the war. In the same scene, he can be seen talking to a black man despite his views on race and racial hierarchies.

With its historical inaccuracies, omissions and timing issues, it’s clear that Darkest Hour is flawed like Winston Churchill himself, however it’s cinematography and performances redeem it ever so slightly and likewise, while Winston Churchill is by no means a perfect hero, he can be commended for his leadership.

If you liked this, please read, like and comment on my other reviews here.

I also have a Letterboxd account where I post some short reviews of the most recent films I’ve seen.

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Siobhan

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