I saw Darkest Hour at the Edina Cinema this weekend. Gary Oldman has now won a Golden Globe for best Actor and the SAG award for Best Actor in a Drama. This is by far the best movie I have seen so far this awards season.
This is not a new story. We studied it in history class; there have been countless movies about World War II, which makes it even MORE extraordinary that the writers and director could captivate my attention the way they did. Director Joe Wright is famous for his single tracking shots that give life to a scene. It puts the viewer right there with the character following their every move. You saw this in his films Atonement and the Soloist. There is a closeness I felt as an audience member to Winston. I was with him; trailing him with each labored step.
Gary Oldman gives a stunning performance that is not only a spot on rendition of Winston Churchill, but he shows vulnerability and steadfastness that makes you question why the Americans did not enter the war sooner. I was so intrigued that it made me desperate to see another Awards season favorite, Dunkirk, since it relates to some of the major plot points of the film. Once again, this is a slice of World History that could be mundane, but I desperately needed to know more.
The lovely Lily James is also outstanding. She plays the new secretary and scribe for Winston Churchill, and is the audience’s eyes and heart. She is us; as we help him on the way in his new job. Kristin Scott Thomas plays his wife and rock. She also deserves more credit! You will be rooting for Winston in the movie and rooting for Gary Oldman in this stellar performance.
My favorite scene is when Winston must get to Parliament quickly and is forced to ride the Underground which he has never done before. This is a turning point in the script where he is ignited by the real voice of the people. Interestingly, it begins with him needing a light for his cigar. “Does Anyone Have a Match?”
Great writing, great direction, great acting…great movie.
Here is the trailer, just to entice you. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!