JOE WRIGHT | UK | ENGLISH | 2017 | 125 MIN
In the accomplished hands of prestige director Joe Wright, Gary Oldman aces the daunting role of Winston Churchill at the very dawn of his leadership, as fear and uncertainty grasp a weary nation.
Less than one year into WWII, Parliament has ousted Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Against conventional wisdom, Winston Churchill—a contentious figure even within his own party—is selected to fill the role. Unleashed upon the world stage in a time of sudden, alarming crisis unlike anything seen before in modern times, Churchill’s immediate task is to forge a path forward. But as France falls to Hitler, Churchill finds enemies testing his resolve both abroad and at home. Bolstered by a commendable cast of supporters (Kristin Scott Thomas as the tenacious Mrs. Churchill and Lily James as the loyal, supportive secretary who bears witness to giant moments in history), opponents (Stephen Dillane as Churchill’s most ardent sparring partner, Lord Halifax, who pushes for peace negotiations with the Nazis), and political hierarchies (scene stealer Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, a playful yet somber mix of resilience and anguish), each faction and individual, with the highest of stakes at risk, argue and plot to enact what they firmly believe is the only correct course of action in the face of grave danger. Sharply focused on the gravity of the ultimate decision—whether to surrender or resist—and the struggle for Churchill to establish the identity that would change the course of history, Wright’s thrilling chamber drama wisely tackles the issue of resolve in a time of hardship. It’s a timely reminder, earning DARKEST HOUR its own unique place in the pantheon of war epics. The film’s modern-day relevance carries as loudly as Churchill’s resonant voice.
CAST: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas
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