“Darkest Hour”: How Winston Churchill saved Britain in 1940 after becoming Prime Minister

Darkest Hour” is a dark biographical drama showing a feisty Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) turning the tide of British attitude toward the Nazi invasion of Europe in May 1940 shortly after he becomes Prime Minister, taking over when Neville Chamberlain resigns.  The climax of the film artistically parallels “The King’s Speech” (2010), when Churchill denounces a proposed partial surrender to Mussolini and vows to fight.   The film is written by Anthony McCarten, based on his book “Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink” (2017, Harper).

The film is directed by Joe Wright and is much less layered than his 2007 masterpiece “Atonement”. But there are some surreal scenes, such as a shot of dwarves with Hitler masks, and the scene were Churchill rides the subway (on the way to the final speech at Wesminster) and people stand up and make room for him.  I had a bizarre experience like that earlier this year, although without the conversations.  There are also some mass scenes of the “manners” in British Parliament.

The film also recounts, from some distance, the history of Dunkirk (July 24, 2007), as Churchill gets into the existential areas of personal sacrifice. (“Atonement” also had a sequence at Dunkirk).

Kristin Scott Thomas plays his wife Clementine, who in an opening scene calls him rude.

I saw a “sneak” at Angelika Mosaic on Pearl Harbor Day.

The film should not be confused with Chris Gorak’s 2011 sci-fi film “The Darkest Hour” shot in Moscow and showing an EMP-like attack from Plasma-like aliens (Summit Entertainment) that eat our energy, again a warning about attacks on western lifestyles.

Name:  “Darkest Hour”
Director, writer:  Joe Wright, Anthony McCarten
Released:  2017
Format:  1.85:1
When and how viewed:  Angelika Mosaic, 2017/12/7
Length:  124
Rating:  PG-13
Companies:  Focus Features, Perfect World, Working Title
Link:  official

(Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 11:45 PM EST)

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