By Charles Chandler
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design
The Darkest Hour is not a war movie even though it is set during the early days of World War II; it is a great story about Winston Churchill, a flawed man of the moment that must courageously lead himself and Great Britain through their darkest hour. The stage is set for this masterpiece with the news that Belgium has surrender, the fall of France is at hand, and the unstoppable Nazi Panzers divisions have trapped about a half million soldiers of the remaining Allied forces on the beaches at Dunkirk. With the great German Wehrmacht poised only 20 miles twenty miles across the English Channel and skies controlled by the Luftwaffe, the not so popular Winston Churchill has just been appointed British Prime Minister of Great Britain and must now step into the fray that swirls around him.
With the unthinkable German evasion looming he must also deal with powerful members of Parliament that want to negotiate with Hitler and develop a working relationship with reclusive British King George VI, played by Ben Mendelsohn who is not sure he is the man for the job. Script, writer Anthony McCarten and director Joe Wright perfectly frames this huge drama by focusing on that historical moment between May and June of 1940. They also step outside that moment and give us poignant vignettes of Winston the husband and family man and caring citizen of Great Britain as he deals with not only the great but the ordinary.
For example Winston has insufficient fund in the family checking and his dear wife cannot pay their household bills. He also has to deal with his personal demons of self doubt as to whether he is doing the right thing for the citizens of Great Britain that are yet unaware of the depth and breadth of the situation and or the terror that they must soon endure.
One of my favorite movie moments is when Winston makes a late night call to our President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and begs him to send him the destroyers that the US has built and the British government has paid for. Our President states that because of the Neutrality Act he cannot deliver the destroyers. The look on Winston’s face is an Oscar winning moment as Roosevelt further suggests that he may be able to get some horses and pull said destroyers’ across the border into Canada.
The DARKEST HOUR is a must see inspiring story about a great man and a few weeks in 1940 during which Winston Churchill's decisions and courage to lead changed the course of history and most likely saved the Western World as we know it today.
Spoiler alert, according to this movie buff Gary Oldman Will get the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role and his magical makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji Will get one for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
For history and movie buffs, if you have not, then also seeing the movie Dunkirk is essential. The Darkest Hour is about a great man and Dunkirk is about a great event. Please see this award winning movie to understand the larger drama that was being played out concurrently as thousands of helpless British soldiers waited at the water’s edge in Dunkirk while being relentless bombed by the German Luftwaffe, not knowing about the political battle being fought across the Channel in the British War Room and Parliament that will determine their fate.
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