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Darkest Hour   review by Bobby Blakey

I think Gary Oldman is one of the best actors out there and always amazes how he immerses himself into every role. His latest from Hanna and The Soloist director Joe Wright, Darkest Hour has him almost unrecognizable starring as Winston Churchill alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn, but does it live up to the hype and award buzz or will it lose the war?

Darkest Hour follows the true story that begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill 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. Going into this film I expected it to be an actor driven film and I was not only correct, but not disappointed.

This is not one of those films that offers up any action or exciting moments to lean on to sell it, but instead the pure talent of its cast, most notably Gary Oldman at his very best. I was amazed when I saw the first trailer at how much he looked like Churchill, but was afraid that it wouldn’t hold up through the whole film. I am glad to say I was horribly wrong and he looks outstanding and never once do you think it is anyone other than Churchill. Oldman has immersed in this role like never before offering up all the quirks and nuances that bring this iconic man to life. I know Oldman is an amazing actor, but this is the kind of role that showcases everything he has without ever seeing Oldman himself which is a pure sign of brilliance. The rest of the cast bring their all to the roles as well making sure that his amazing performance is not wasted.

Despite the lack of the action heavy war side of Dunkirk here there is no lack of excitement when Churchill is on a rant or just putting on his Prime Minister hat. There are some truly great moments here when he speaks that you believe and in turn makes you see how Churchill pulled off what he did during this intense time in history that changed everything. There is a specific sequence involving a subway that is not only humorous but impactful to his legacy with the people. This is an exciting film from the standpoint of the performance, but some might find it slow due the lack of excitement from their point of view. I personally found it to be pure filmmaking perfection and loved it from beginning to end.

In addition to the film this release will also include numerous bonus features including commentary and featurettes that take you behind bringing this film to life. Witness the rise of Winston Churchill when Darkest Hour comes to Blu-ray and DVD on February 27th from Universal Home Entertainment.

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