Considering it was the third movie this year about Dunkirk, Darkest Hour managed to give an interesting new view, through the eyes of Winston Churchill. Gary Oldman is nearly unrecognizable as an exceptional Churchill, pretty much securing himself a lead actor nomination. Unfortunately other than some great performances (Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas), not much else in this movie really spoke to me.
I think the biggest obstacle that historical movies make is that they inevitably are leading up to some historic moment, in this case, Churchill’s address to parliament. Up until this point, I felt it tended to drag, with long scenes of politicians talking and Churchill contemplating drafts of his speech. Huge moments seem insignificant, with decisions regarding next steps at Dunkirk being handed down casually as politicians quibble about whether to negotiate.
It is unquestioningly a good movie, but not as entertaining as I could have hoped. In some moments, it luxuriates over long winded Oscar bait-y speeches, at others it diminishes what could be interesting backstory. At the core, it is about Gary Oldman’s performance, so in that regard, it was worth it. 7.5/10