Spend an Hour or Two on “Darkest Hour”


Irina Lee, Staff Writer

Another biopic dramatizing the courageous fight against Hitler might not clench the movie hotspot, but a combination of masterful acting and fast pacing mixed in with the time-honored theme of “good against evil” makes for a truly satisfying viewing.

Darkest Hour gives us a deeper look into the first four weeks of Winston Churchill’s term as prime minister and his refusal to sign a deal with Nazi Germany, one that would theoretically promise peace and the chance to preserve millions of British lives. His is a controversial appointment as he faces the stiffest opposition from his own party for his gruff mannerisms and failed policies. Ultimately, it is the battle between honor and acquiescence that the film shines a spotlight on as each person dances along the thin line separating courage and safety.

Though the theme of moral uprightness in the face of tyranny is a frequently canvassed topic, it is no less compelling. With Churchill’s story told primarily through the eyes of a typist, he becomes more than a hero, more than a mere icon, for we see that he is, above all, human. Gary Oldman, as Winston Churchill, brings humor and humanity to the role, allowing us the peel back the layers of the legendary persona to see the doubt and vulnerability that made his courage possible.

Yet where the movie truly shines is in the details, and the masterful creation of each scene lends beauty to the story as a whole. The taking of his wife’s hand as he rises to hear his appointment, the shafts of light that illuminate a dank and stuffy Parliament, the almost gossipy setting of the government that speaks ill of him behind his back. All these and more bring life to characters that would have been caricatures otherwise.

Set against the backdrop of World War II and crafted with intricate detail, the movie underlines a theme prevalent throughout wartime and in our daily lives: that courage is overcoming fear.