Darkest Hour is like a series of historical paintings, with each angle covered perfectly and in great detail
The film industry’s heavy-weights joined hands together to give a marvellous treat to filmgoers with a stunning political drama cum biopic, Darkest Hour. The film offers detailed directorial work, electrifying performance, engaging screenplay and most importantly jaw-dropping makeover.
Darkest Hour is mainly suspense. It dexterously interweaves all the relevant episodes in history which we already know about. However, you still want to spare 125 minutes to watch the day to day delineation of Winston Churchill’s early days in office and his sparkling leadership in such precarious moments.
For its flamboyant presentation, the film had been nominated for six Academy Awards and has won two of them, for Best Actor and Best Makeup.
Based on real life events of World War II and the United Kingdom’s political turmoil, Darkest Hour intelligently covers the background and the administrative upheaval as Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, became Prime Minister of England. He led the nation amidst Nazi invasions of Belgium, Netherlands, and France as they openly threatened to defeat Britain.
During May 1940, Churchill’s period in office became a continuous matter of disagreement at governmental level as two totally diverse points of view were clashing with each other. The influential group of people wanted to make a peace treaty with Adolf Hitler to impede Nazi devastation but Churchill’s sturdy mindset was not ready to accept it.
However, the newly appointed head of government facing a catch-22 situation must show a substantial character. He must make a fateful decision to save his nation and country’s honour within a short span of time, as German invasion is knocking at the door.
In his first speech on May 13, 1940 as the premier, Churchill addressed the House of Commons and shared his course of action for the future,
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory…”
Churchill was not a favourite candidate for the premiership, because he was ostracised for his decisions and judgments such as, First World War, India policy and backing of Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis throughout the 30s. With such a scandalous milieu and refusal to bargain peace with Nazi Germany, he further became a controversial figure.
Churchill’s orders to handle the Dunkirk and Calais crisis as well as other significant events, compelled the War Cabinet to back the peace negotiation process with the Germans. However, his address to Parliament on June 4th, 1940, changed the direction of winds with his military and diplomatic endeavours as he proclaimed,
“If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground…”
He convinced everyone that the United Kingdom should stand-up with unity to fight against Nazis peril, which garnered him a huge applause.
From the romantic drama Pride and Prejudice (2005) to a tender war drama Atonement (2007), and from adventurous Hanna (2011) to historical story Anna Karenina (2012), Joe Wright has always exhibited his enthusiasm for making historical masterpieces. His recent nerve racking war-cum-political drama is another example of his finest directorial venture that wonderfully binds all the crafts of filmmaking. Winner of BAFTA award, Wright impressively used his love for history in Darkest Hour and presented the anecdote as a series of historical paintings in which the painter tries to cover every angle with perfection and detail.
Similarly, Author of seven novels and Screenwriter Anthony McCarten, best known for Academy Award nominations for the romantic drama The Theory Of Everything, wrote a speculative screenplay for Darkest Hour. He skilfully encompassed scene to scene sharpness while flaunting the brainpower of Churchill who was facing House’s vigorous disapproval and Hitler’s imminent attack.
Another significant aspect of the film is special effects. It was delightful to see Makeup Artist Kazuhiro Tsuji’s amazing prosthetics for the facial alteration of Gary Oldman into an old chubby Churchill.
As far as the performances are concerned, Oldman is the highlight of the film. Oldman has a magical power to absolutely vanish himself for his movie characters. This time again, he evaporated and viewers were only left with a thinly haired, chunky heft Churchill with cigars and mannerism, occupied in daily controversies and condemnations.
All in all, Darkest Hour has a gripping and poignant storyline with this year’s best performance. Wright along with his screenwriter McCarten rephrased narrative with a vast aptitude to inspire spectators. The film is an amalgamation of history’s volatile events that headed towards the eminent addresses of the 20th century and emergence of a great leader of his time.
If you are a die-hard fan of historical dramas, particularly World War II, then Darkest Hour is the prime film that you must watch.
All photos: IMDb
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