A man with the heard of a nation. Two trailers in for Joe Wright’s Oscar-contender, and Gary Oldman’s transformation into Winston Churchill is still mind-blowing.

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation.

As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

Irish release date is January 12, 2018.

  • emerb

    It’s quite a coincidence that two big movies which deal with the same pivotal period in British history, a few days at the start of World War 11 in 1940, come out within a few months of each other. “Darkest Hour” and “Dunkirk” both work as nice companion pieces. Both are superb films but approach the subject matter from very different angles. Directed by Joe Wright, “Darkest Hour” is a more straightforward but yet gripping depiction of the events which centres in on the brief span between Churchill’s appointment as prime minister and the fall of
    France in World War II. It was the period in which Britain had to decide whether to fight on alone or to attempt to find an agreement of sorts on Adolf Hitler’s terms. We see almost nothing of Operation Dynamo which is where we get all the action in Spielberg’s “Dunkirk” and yet we find ourselves engrossed in both the political drama and many scenes which explore Churchill’s character and turmoil as he struggles to be the fighting Prime Minister that would lead the country.

    The film begins in May 1940, when the war is already underway in Europe and the Conservative government of Neville Chamberlain collapsed, along with France. Despite being unpopular in his own party, the only acceptable alternative for the opposition parties joining a coalition government is Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman). German troops are on the march with the UK in its sights so Churchill is faced with a dilemma which is the main focus of the film. He is totally opposed to the idea of arranging some form of a negotiated peace with Hitler and he remains determined to fight to the bitter end. However there are those in Parliament, such as Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) and Lord Halifax (Stephen Dillane) who believe peace talks are the only option in order to save Britain from invasion and Churchill must also take into account the wishes of King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn), who may or may not prove to be an ally. The film explores his character in some depth, including showing us his love of whiskey and cigars! We see a man who is utterly devoted to his job and his country but yet struggles with the pressure and responsibility on his shoulders.

    Many people have played Churchill over the years and have given fine performances and no disrespect to any of their portrayals, but all their work is secondary to that of Gary Oldman’s towering performance here. He is unrecognisable, physically transformed with prosthetics and special effects into an overweight, commanding and imposing figure with a heavy walk, a dead ringer for the Prime Minister. It’s not just an uncanny impersonation but he captures every nuance of Churchill’s demeanor and personality. His Churchill is a heavy smoker and drinker, he is irascible, short tempered and cranky but also emotional, hard-working and sympathetic. He is utterly devoted to his work and determined to fight to save his country from the Nazi regime. My favourite scene was when he took to the train to quiz the locals on their views about peace or war. It showed the human side to his character, a man who is not afraid to listen to his people, nor his supportive wife Clementine (Kristen Scott Thomas). In my view, it is inevitable that Oldman will receive numerous nominations this awards season and I will be rooting for a win each time. He is surely one of the greatest actors of his generation and his extraordinary work here will define his status for many years to come.

    “Darkest Hour” isn’t just another dull War biopic, it stands well above more routine historical dramas. It’s lively, thought provoking and not only deals with strategy and policy but there is also a personal and emotional element which I liked. Wright brings all his signature style to the fore – old fashioned yet handsome and elegantly staged set pieces, an apt musical score and thoughtful, well-judged performances, not only from Oldman but also Kristen Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn and Lily James to mention but a few. I found “Darkest Hour” to
    be completely absorbing from start to finish and would highly recommend
    that you check it out.