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Darkest Hour — ‘an electrifying performance’

Darkest Hour — ‘an electrifying performance’

May 21
23:37 2018

Directed by Joe Wright, 2017

Universal Pictures

Complementing Christopher Nolan’s rather more immersive Dunkirk, Joe Wright’s film brings us a domestic perspective on the evacuation. Here the focus is not on the beaches but on the gloomy war rooms deep in the bowels of Westminster where an intransigent Winston Churchill is determined to keep fighting despite the prospect of catastrophic defeat.

Strangely for a story so defined by urgency, Darkest Hour is content to amble along; tension is repeatedly sacrificed for some dutifully patriotic scenes that overly mythologise history.

As the prime minister, Gary Oldman doesn’t so much chew the scenery as devour it whole. He moves from one stentorian speech to the next, pausing occasionally to showcase Churchill’s infamously acidic wit. It’s an electrifying performance in an otherwise passable two hours.


The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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