Darkest Hour - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews

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Darkest Hour - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews
There Will Be Games

Great companion piece to Dunkirk. One of which is the war movie of getting 300k troops off a beach, the other is a war drama about the politics behind getting those dudes home (and dealing with everything else in the early war). 

I don't remember Gary Oldman ever being the leading role in anything off-hand. Even Dracula was a supportive role. After seeing this film, you'll wonder why Oldman hasn't been given more room to shine in the past. He is utterly transformed as Winston Churchill. You will not see a speck of Oldman in the character, but also to his credit you won't see a speck of Commissioner Gordan or any other popular character of his. This is why he will win the Oscar. He becomes this person and you get to feel like you know Winston Churchill after this. 

If you showed me on paper that you wanted to make a movie that would have a climatic scene around a speech to the British government in session at the time, I would tell you that is going to be one boring movie. However, they pull off a ton of political tension so as the movie goes on, your heart beats faster and you feel the pivotal moments right where you're supposed to. So kudos to the director for pulling that off. 

I like the side-action of trying to introduce antagonists like Chamberlain and Halifax (who I didn't recognize as Stannis Barratheon until I saw defeat in his eyes), but I think the movie makes a mistake trying to make Churchill's wife such an important side-character. If you're dealing with the potential destruction of England and the man in charge of preventing it, you can't spend too much time on his wife. I loved the family scene with the champagne where you realize Churchill has been anything but present for his family, but beyond that you don't need more. 

Also, there was some artistic license taken with Churchill using the subway to get inspiration. Stuff like that, while being inspired by actual events, come off as too obvious that they didn't actually happen or we'd have heard about it. And with things as well-documented and researched as Churchill's leadership, you can't really get away with it. Still, it made for a great dramatic scene and lots of fun. 

Overall, it's a very good movie and it's worth seeing for the incredible performance by Oldman. 

 

Heart rating: 4.5 stars 

Brain rating: 3.5 stars

There Will Be Games

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