Darkest Hour (2017)

Darkest Hour
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, David Strathairn
Seen on: 25.1.2018

Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) just became Prime Minister of the UK and he already has a huge decision to make: should he enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany or should he refuse any kind of arrangement with them, even if that means waging war against them? With less than enthusiastic support from the most powerful people around him, Churchill tries to make his decision.

To put it plainly, Darkest Hour is not a good film. Maybe it would have stood a chance with another (better) script, but what we got is just insufferable

I really don’t know what happened with Darkest Hour. Or rather, I do know what happened, I just don’t know how they let it happen: It has one of the worst scripts I have seen in a while (maybe even including The Greatest Showman which was more of a general mess). It basically uses Mjolnir to hammer its message home and that message is that Winston Churchill was a great man. No, THE GREATEST MAN. There’s zero criticism of the dude, not a teensiest, tiniest bit of critical distance. Winston Churchill is basically the second coming of Jesus, if not god.

And all of that wrapped into a narrative that is so incredibly standard, that alone was incredibly annoying. So much more could have been made with a better script and that cast (what a shameful, criminal waste of Kristin Scott Thomas). Churchill is interesting, after all, even if he really isn’t an all-around hero.

And I don’t know what was going on with Joe Wright, either, because what the hell were those tracking shots the film keeps using? I mean, they were beautifully made, really great cinematography, but they didn’t fit the film or the tone at all. There’s a scene in the library that looks and feels like the opening number of a musical, only that nobody is singing. It’s not the only tonal misstep in the film, but it is the most egregious one.

The result is a film that is sanctimonious heroizing in an at best mediocre narrative. It falls falt on almost all levels and from all angles you look at it and made me wish I could slap a film.

Summarizing: Save yourselves.

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