Darkest Hour


At the time of writing, this year’s Oscar race is wide open, with around a dozen titles duking it out for consideration. The safest bet among the major categories appears to be Gary Oldman as Best Actor for his turn as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. It’s the archetypal Oscar-bait performance – a seasoned thesp disappearing behind unflattering prosthetics to deliver an uncanny impersonation of a revered historical figure. The film chronicles the turbulent early days of World War II from the perspective of the British powers-that-be, with the newly-elected PM struggling to take the reins of a divided government as Hitler’s troops march ever closer. But while Oldman offers compelling glimpses of the haunted soul cowering behind the grandstanding orator, Wright over-eggs the pudding with ostentatious visual flourishes, whilst Ben Mendelsohn’s gently lisping King George VI pushes the whole thing perilously close to parody. What a shame it would be for Oldman to net his first little gold man for this prestige piffle.

Darkest Hour I Directed by Joe Wright (UK 2017) with Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas. Starts Jan 18

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