The United Kingdom is in the crosshairs of Hitler’s murderous Nazi juggernaut as it marches it way through mainland Europe, the year is 1940 and British politics is in ‘transition’ as current Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is taking fire from the Opposition Party who are demanding his resignation.
Enter Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman). A swashbuckling cigar smoking robe wearing politician who talks a great game but by most is seen as the Prime Minister in a no win situation, a lamb being led to an inevitable German slaughter, it’s the nations Darkest Hour.
Churchill shuffles his way around the dimly lit Mansion he occupies, his secretary (Lily James) hurriedly putting the glorious words coming out of Churchill’s mouth to paper, they would become his most famous speeches. It’s those words that could save him; they could rally the public and prevent his own Political party from stabbing him in the back.
Former Prime Minister Chamberlain is not done, together with Lord Halifax (Game of Thrones’ Stephen Dillane) a plan is being hatched to arrange peace talks with Hitler through Italy’s Mussolini, a plan Churchill has no time for.
King George V1 (Ben Mendelson) is also not a fan, you could say he has to grit his teeth through weekly lunch meetings with Churchill and isn’t sure if he’s lunching with a dithering old man or the warrior the British nation needs as the Nazi’s are about to bust down the door.
Churchill also has another side, a deep caring for his wife (Kristen Scott Thomas), she knows him best, his failings and strengths, she pumps him up when needed and scolds him when deserved.
The film is set in a short timeline; the days are shown ticking over, you feel the weight that Churchill has to bear, a defiant War Cabinet, trying to bring the troops back from Dunkirk, battling his own ‘black dog’, winning over Parliament and more importantly how to defend the homeland.
Gary Oldman is unrecognizable as Churchill, buried under prosthetics and makeup, it’s an absolute hurricane of acting, awards should rain down on him, the mannerism’s, movement and speech are something to behold, if you’re a history buff this movie is a must, even if you aren’t it’s a great insight into one of the 20th centuries most important periods.
hallymustang rating : ????? 4.5/5