Incredible. Fantastic. Gripping. Gary Oldman’s performance as Churchill from the events of 1940, it’s finest hour.
This film is not just for the history boffins, it packs the entertainment factor, whether or not you know the back story.
It balances the mixture of triumphs, downfalls and the more vulnerable elements of Churchill, provoking his infamous ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat’ speech, with him using words rather than weapons to make a stand.
Sticking closely to historical facts, the film inserts as much entertainment as possible into 125 minutes, showing a humorous side to Churchill as he replaces the comparably weak, Neville Chamberlain. His boisterous mannerisms, his frequent mumbling, and of course, his unapologetic need to sort out half of his problems whilst drinking heavily, smoking a cigar, or on the toilet. Never forgetting the moment where he unintentionally displays the ‘V Sign’ swearing, when it should be the opposite way around to display victory.
You cannot ignore the fact that the country is on the brink of war, or Churchill’s uncertain few weeks as a Prime Minister, and his lack of confidence from his fellow cabinet.
His new secretary (portrayed by Lily James) is the perfect element added into the film showing Churchill’s softer side as they build a friendly, supportive relationship, furthermore delving deeper into Churchill the man.
The knife stuck in the back of Churchill is more evident as even his peers are twisting the knife deeper as they do not agree with Churchill being totally against negotiating with Germany.
The walls of Westminister Boardrooms, and Cabinet War Rooms are filled with fright due to Churchill’s plans, resorting to a quite unrealistic scene of him travelling on the tube, asking members of the general public what he should do in terms of negotiating with Germany or fighting with ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat’.
Clemmie Churchill, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, is portrayed as a solid support, even when he tests her patience with his drinking habits.
Don’t wander into the cinema expecting a high octane thrill ride, although you will have a good old giggle at times. The Darkest Hour may not be the typical interesting topic for a younger audience, but give it a chance. Tear your eyes away from your screens and feast your eyes on this masterpiece.