Directed by Joe Wright and based on true events, Darkest Hour is set in May 1940 when the fate of Western Europe hangs on Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman). With the German Army now just across the Channel, the newly-appointed Prime Minister must decide between negotiating a peace treaty with Hitler, or stand firm and fight on, knowing that his decision could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire. With the King, the public and his own political party all questioning his wisdom, the hard-drinking Churchill has to survive his own darkest hour and rally the country behind him.
Joe Wright is one of my favourite directors because of the stunning theatrical qualities in his films, making them look like stage productions with fluid scene transitions and beautiful cinematography. I wondered if his style would suit a biopic about Churchill, but in the light of Tom Hooper’s filmography, I should have expected a historical drama to be the perfect story for a stage set up by Wright.
And that’s exactly what it is. Darkest Hour is a powerful drama, led fantastically by the amazing Gary Oldman, and tells us about a part of history that we should know more about. The trouble is, we all know the basics of this story so there’s no standout moment that will make you want to watch this more than once, but the quality of the film and the performances are definitely worth celebrating.