Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour

DVD - 2018
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During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly appointed British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.
Publisher: [Universal City, California] : Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, [2018]
Edition: DVD widescreen version.
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (125 min.) :,sound, colour ;,12 cm.
digital, optical, rda
video file, DVD video, rda

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graybear1
Apr 18, 2018

Gary Oldman was great, but until the last few minutes we found the movie watchable but not compelling, as you would expect a best-picture nominee to be. We also question how historically accurate many of the scenes were. We realize that filmmakers often take artistic liberties, but it just seems that in this instance, maybe they shouldn't have. At any rate, we've seen a couple better films on Churchill. If you watch this, you should definitely watch Dunkirk first. Otherwise much of the drama will be minimized.

t
TBrien
Apr 17, 2018

Good character study with the backdrop of political in-fighting at home and the invasion of sovereign states abroad. Great subway scene toward the end where Churchill takes the people's pulse, but those really moving, compelling moments were infrequent. Oldman was good, but I thought Lithgow as Churchill in "The Crown" was better.

k
Kathrynsbraunstein
Apr 17, 2018

Excellent but Frightening.
First, the vast majority of people alive today weren't even born yet when this film takes place so it might lack relevance to young people. But the acting was superb; Gary Oldman was excellent and certainly deserved the Academy Award that he received for his role in this film. The supporting cast was very good including Kristin Scott Thomas as Clemmie, Churchill's wife.
The action was fast paced and of course Churchill's words were a remarkable feat of the English language.
The frightening aspect of the film was how close the Allies were to losing the War at that time- May 1940. What would have happened if the Allies had negotiated for peace with that monster? The world would have been plunged into hell. A sober thought.
Katie B.

DPLjosie Apr 17, 2018

Amazingly well-acted and well done. I'd recommend watching this in conjunction with Dunkirk.

h
hecto
Apr 12, 2018

A compelling retelling of the 'decision to fight on' In May 1940. Gary Oldman's Churchill is beyond praise, of course, as is Kristin Scott-Thomas' cameo as Clementine. But look for Stephen Dillane's outstanding portrayal of Halifax. In my opinion Joe Wright's gamble on making Churchill's apocryphal 'Underground ride' the hinge of his resolve pays off. Purists who inform us that the episode never happened (as if that needed to be said!) miss the point: the film is a drama, not a chronicle. And speaking of chronicles, it was inevitable, I suppose, that Chamberlain had to be excoriated as incompetent and naive for those same dramatic purposes. But those who accept this indictment ought to ask which PM channeled prewar defence spending to the RAF and approved the construction of the chain of radar stations in the southeast. Without those decisions - they were Chamberlain's - the skies above Britain in the summer of 1940 would have been an even scarier place.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Apr 11, 2018

Before watching the film I had this fear that for 2 hours I would be watching a grumpy old man babble non-stop. That proved not to be the case. I don't know about the historic accuracy of some of the details - Churchill riding the underground to talk to common folks in London; him walking around bare-footed and in pajamas, etc. - but overall the script was rather engaging. I generally don't have a strong liking for historical dramas but enjoyed this one thoroughly.

j
Jgrooms
Apr 02, 2018

Wonderfull acting and cinematography. It certainly captures the spirit of the age.
While I realize movies have to take historical licence to tell complex events. For example, composite characters and explanatory dialog to explain settings.

Unfortunately the writers have created a historic farce. And why? The story, well documented and not open to serious debate, is as dramatic as one could possibly be.

The Churchill, Halifax, Chamberlain relationship portrayed as a conspiracy never happened. The possibility of a negotiated settlement with Germany, possibly the single most important event in history, is extreme revisionist and doesn't hold up to any serious scholarship. Churchill did not waver and did not ride in the tube to find his resolve among Londoners. So much dramatic licence even to the dates. The overwrought use of the changing date shots gets the events wrong to make the timeline fit a fantasy narrative.

The brief FDR/Churchill dialog does a good job at capturing how weak Roosevelt was and how his inability to lead very nearly resulted in the collapse of Democracy.

And no there is simply no comparisons to make between Churchill and the latest demagogue delivered up by history. Hopefully a Churchillian character is amongst us now and he/she will deliver him to the dustbin of history as Winston succeeded in doing.

If one wishes to learn about leadership and a great man under the pressure of unforeseen events where the outcome was unknowable see:
Martin Gilbert, Churchill
John Lukacs, Five Days in May
Andrew Roberts, Masters and Commanders

l
Loge99
Apr 01, 2018

An excellent film, Oldman does a fantastic job of creating the Churchill character. The photography is dark enhancing the claustrophobic, underground offices of the War Dept.

j
jsinaz
Mar 30, 2018

Two great British WWII dramas were given us this year: Dunkirk, and Darkest Hour, both about the early days of the war, before the air attacks on London and the UK, and just as Hitler's blitzkrieg, conquering the Low Countries and invading France virtually unopposed, made an invasion of their "island nation" an existential threat. The present film takes place during the siege at Dunkirk, where virtually the entire standing British army were had their backs to the English Channel and were threatened with capture by the Nazi army. Churchill came in to replace Neville "Peace in our time" Chamberlain, opposed by those like Halifax and Chamberlain who wanted to sue for peace with Hitler. This became untenable for Churchill, who, after considering peace, stood against it as shown by his famous speeches before Parliament in 1940. The movie is exciting, filled with action and even suspense (though we know the outcome!), but dominated by the amazing transformation of Gary Oldman into Churchill. But it Oldman's performance more than prosthetics that make his role so spellbinding. He well-deserved the Best Actor Oscar for his performance (of a lifetime). All the sets perfectly create the gritty, dirty, soot-covered London of the era. The underground "lair" where all military activity was plotted is just like the real thing, claustrophobia and all. A film well-worth watching. Forget Black Panther. Darkest Hour is exciting movie-making, and true-to-life to boot.

JCLEdwardR Mar 29, 2018

Once again, Gary Oldman does a fantastic job. Oddly, I thought this was a good final trilogy of sorts when you tie this movie with The King's Speech (2010) and the recent Dunkirk (2017). I would suggest watching the other two if you enjoyed the historical context of this film. They have similar tones as well.

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