Movie Review – “Darkest Hour”


“Darkest Hour” is a top contender for Film of the Year! – Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

In a historic masterpiece, “Darkest Hour” presents us with a battle-weary England on the verge of collapse at the evil hands of Adolf Hitler in World War II. Covering a politically troublesome and potentially devastating four-week period for Great Britain and her King, this stunningly shot film delivers a remarkable look inside Winston Churchill—a trusted parliamentarian with an abrasive personality and a penchant for cigars.

Selected by King George VI to replace ineffective wartime leader and prime minister Neville Chamberlain, Churchill faces steadfast opposition from nearly every direction. With Hitler and his German forces quickly invading European countries with growing ease, Churchill must convince his Parliament peers that are pushing appeasement towards Hitler to fight for outright victory instead.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, left, and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI  (Jack English/Focus Features via AP)

A strong argument can be made that “Darkest Hour” outshines this year’s earlier film “Dunkirk” in dramatizing the military significance and heroic civilian flotilla rescue of British soldiers facing certain death on the shores of France. While “Darkest Hour” focuses mostly on political infighting and those challenging Churchill’s “Victory” at any cost rallying cry, the film does a wonderful job of instilling a sense of peril from Hitler’s approaching troops.

The film’s best feature is the behind-the-scenes, intimate look at Churchill as he interacts with his political roadblocks, supportive wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), British commoners, and personal secretary Elizabeth Nel…perfectly played by British actress Lily James (“Baby Driver”). Look for this sensational cast to compete strongly with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Mudbound” for Best Ensemble honors in 2017.

This incredible British drama about one man conjures up rich comparisons of greatness and political power found in the mesmerizing 2012 American story “Lincoln” – which earned the most Oscar nominations (twelve) that year. I suspect, and truly hope, Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Churchill garners as much critical acclaim and reward as Daniel Day-Lewis’ role achieved playing the sixteenth president of the United States…earning the Academy Award for Best Actor.

History buffs won’t find a better film in 2017. With an exceptional cast, splendid cinematography and intricate look at the charisma and leadership inside one of the best orators in modern times, “Darkest Hour” delivers exquisite movie flair to moviegoers.

This Oscar game-changer goes wide release in the U.S. on December 22. Just remember how to properly do the “V” for victory hand gesture!

Grade: A+

“Darkest Hour” is rated PG-13 for language. Its running time is 2 hours and 5 minutes.

© 2017, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office".   - Judy O.

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