Hello everyone and welcome back! Soggz-Blogs will be returning to a much more regular schedule, with new posts once every two weeks alternating between this and a new Podcast that I co-host — you can find episode 1 here!
As you may have already guessed, I’ll be kicking things off by seeing all the Oscar nominees for Best Picture and reviewing as many as I can. I already wrote a review for “Dunkirk” back when it was released, so be sure to check that out here.
“Darkest Hour” is directed by Joe Wright and stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in his time as Prime Minister during WWII. If you know me, you know that I’m pretty sick of WWII movies unless they do something unique, and luckily I found this one to fit that bill. It definitely helps that this was more of a biopic focused on one important historical figure and the people around him, making for a character-driven film. However we also really get to see the political side of early WWII rather than the front lines of the battles themselves. I went to see this pretty late and I was exhausted from the day, but I was still hooked and enjoyed myself due to the energy this movie had.
The main reason why I think this movie will rank high on my favorites list for this years nominees is simple: Gary Oldman. For the love of God, someone give this man what he deserves because everything about his acting was exhilarating. When I take into account everything I knew about Winston Churchill, it felt like I was looking into a very high quality and dramatic recording of what he was actually like. Oldman even got Churchill’s lisp and manner of speaking down perfectly, and if someone doesn’t stop me I will sit here and gush about how Oldman retold history so well and disappeared into the person he was tasked to portray. I bought everything about this man’s craft and it was a constant thrill in every scene.
Moving on from how impressed I was with a single actor’s performance, I appreciated and enjoyed other aspects of how this movie was made. I thought the cinematographers did a very good job of keeping the focus onto Churchill even as he interacted with everyone else. There were some subtleties in the way some scenes were filmed and I wish I had the vernacular to elaborate but trust me, they’re there. Even in the first scene where Churchill was introduced, a viewer with no prior knowledge of who Churchill even is could make an educated guess about what kind of leader he was, and I think the camera work had something to do with that.
The most interesting scenes, in my opinion, of the whole film are the ones that show Churchill’s War Cabinet. Here is where you really get to see what you learn in school about the kind of leader he was, including his flaws. Coincidentally enough, the main conflict of the war this movie focuses on is the Dunkirk Evacuation, and to be honest (oh Lord the Nolan fanboys are going to hate me), I liked this perspective more. You really get to see the War Cabinet and everyone around Churchill lose hope about ever bringing the soldiers home safely, but you also see Churchill keep pressing on and clear his own doubts about his position in the process. They’re two very different perspectives and I liked things about both, but this film really got across that feeling of the weight of the world on one man who’s already being questioned by almost everyone around him. On top of all of this, there’s one scene at the end that I don’t want to talk too much due to potential spoilers, but
“Darkest Hour” sets out to show us how one man dealt with an immense responsibility despite it being one he had worked for his whole life, and I think it accomplished this with a lot of help from stellar performing. Seriously, even if you hate movies like this, if you appreciate the hell out of amazing acting then that alone should be a reason for you to catch this one.
I’m giving “Darkest Hour” a Soggz-Blogs rating of 8.5/10