During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.
A group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they've left the battlefield.
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. Written by
Riveting production despite its pat view of history
We go to the movies to be gripped by powerful narratives presented with good scripts and moving imagery. This film has all of it, most especially a riveting performance by Gary Oldman.
The subject matter will clearly divide audiences thanks to its pat view of history: UK as the righteous hero and everyone else as inept -- Italians and French losers, Germans the evil fascists, US completely unmentioned, Canada the quiet prairie for monarchs to escape to -- in the still-somewhat- mysterious Dunkirk incident where Hitler could easily have tightened the noose and pushed UK over the edge of what was evidently a crushing defeat, but somehow allowed them the leeway to escape by civilian boats. There's next to no mention of the French army that stood its ground and valiantly sacrificed itself to win a couple of days for the Brits on the beach.
All that said, as a film, this is a gripping narrative with just the kind of insouciant wit you'd expect from Churchill. While movies such as "The Gathering Storm" with Albert Finney were more considered, Darkest Hour is the kind of production that wows awards juries and audiences. Worthy watch when it comes to a theater near you. I feel Nolan's "Dunkirk" would be richer if you saw it *after* Darkest Hour.
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