Darkest Hour Shines Bright

Darkest Hour Shines Bright

It’s May of 1940 and Great Britain is in its Darkest Hour. Thousands of British troops are pinned on the beaches of Dunkirk, where the Nazi forces are attacking by the land, sea and air.

Meanwhile, the Nazis are steamrolling through Western Europe by taking over countries such as France, Belgium, Holland and others.

In a time where people look to their leaders, there seems to be no hope. The incompetent Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is encouraging peace talks with the Nazis, but we all know how loyal dictator Adolf Hitler is.

Then, on May 10th, the course of history changed when Great Britain elected Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.

Right from his first day in office, Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, must make difficult choices that have historical consequences.

How will Churchill save the immobilized troops in Dunkirk? Also, will Churchill cave to the Nazis’ “peace treaty?”

Churchill’s colleagues try to sway him to fulfill their party’s desires, but the Prime Minister acts in the best interests of Great Britain.

Although the subject of Dunkirk is recycled for the third time in a year, Darkest Hour still gives the audience a fresh story as to how Churchill handled the high stakes. It’s nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Gary Oldman’s performance.

Not only was a battle being fought to evacuate troops out of Dunkirk, but Churchill battled with his thoughts and colleagues to make the best decision for Great Britain.

Usually, history classes paint Churchill as a man who stepped in and took control right from the gate. Once Chamberlain was out, Churchill made the right decision in Dunkirk, told Parliament that Britain would, “never surrender,” and the rest is history.

However, Churchill’s judgement wasn’t clear. During World War I, the then First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill made a decision to lead a failed invasion of Gallipoli, which resulted in 250,000 casualties on both sides.

Considering his past failures, pressure from the Nazis, and fellow politicians pulling on his ear, Churchill battled with himself for Britain’s future.

Churchill wasn’t a knight in shining armour. He didn’t come riding into Parliament on a horse promising a quick victory. The Prime Minister was a human who had flaws like anyone else.

The Prime Minister is played by Gary Oldman who gives a superb performance. Oldman transforms himself into an unrecognizable state as he supports a rotund figure and bald head.

It looks like Oldman traded his dumbbells and vegetables for whiskey and cigars. Not only does Oldman look the part, but he has the same swagger as Churchill too. Churchill has a commanding presence that can make a room stop.

The Prime Minister is wired and yells at anyone he very well pleases. Think about a charismatic family member you love to see just because they stir the pot. At Thanksgiving dinner, you know stuff is going to hit the fan just when their lips move.

The person is so controversial, but brings life to the environment. Churchill acts the same way. There’ll be a somber meeting with generals in the War Rooms, until Churchill comes in puffing his cigar.

When Churchill enters a room, we know blood will be drawn, and we look forward to it.

Delbonnel ups the pressure in a particular moment when Churchill calls President Franklin Roosevelt for help with Dunkirk.

Roosevelt gives Churchill doubtful news, then the Prime Minister hangs up the phone. In a room all by himself, the aspect ratio tightens vertically.

Through Delbonnel’s work, we feel alone with Churchill and helpless in the fight for good.

In Britain’s Darkest Hour, one man shaped the fate of millions. Winston Churchill was a flawed figure who clashed with politicians and himself.

Fast forward to today where we have a President who still debates how many people showed up to his inauguration. In our darkest hours, we should look back at leaders who made a difference even when their backs were against the walls. Leaders who listened to the people and gave hope to generations. One of those leaders was Winston Churchill. The Prime Minister still serves a figure whose decisions in difficult times proved to change the course of history.

IMAGE TAKEN from traileraddict.com