OK, on to this latest Churchill movie. In "The Darkest Hour," Oldman puts on an incredible and nuanced performance as Churchill. I have never particularly cared for Oldman, but this is a stellar performance. The problem with many other Churchill movies is that it's easy to engage in caricature, to wit, the gruff curmudgeon, but Oldman shows Churchill as a complex flawed man obsessed with saving his beloved England from the Nazis and from the unimaginative dolts in the British government and military. The movie also does not make FDR, in pre-Lend-Lease days, look too good. Fair enough.
I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars. I don't give it the full much-coveted Diplomad five-star rating, thus far, given only to "Dirty Harry," "Zulu," "Raising Arizona," and "Die Hard."
I found the cinematography murky, at times, even muddy. Perhaps the makers were going for a natural light look, but, jeez, the film was hard to watch at times since it was so dark and even blurry. The CGI was of the cartoonish sort, and, I guess, meant only to be symbolic rather than an accurate rendition of German aircraft on bombing runs.
I would have given it 4¾ stars if not for the silly, PC, and historically fake scene in the London underground which has Churchill consulting with a casting call depiction of "the working class," including an interracial couple, on whether Britain should fight or give in. The black Caribbean immigrant, of course, helps Churchill finish the quotation from, I believe, the St. Crispin's Day speech. This is nonsense required by our PC culture. Judging from what I have read by Orwell and other commentators of the time, it is not clear that the average working stiff was all that in favor of war to the death to save the "ruling elite." I don't really know, and would have to look for polling data of the time, and seek correction by those more knowledgable. Anyhow, the film shows Churchill coming back from his one-stop ride in the tube energized by working class support for defeating the Nazis, and ready to address the parliament in his "never surrender" speech,
You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.Oldman does a fantastic job of delivering that speech. I think Churchill would have been proud, and even envious.
Most of the other characters are also well-portrayed, especially Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill's adored and adoring wife, Clemmie, quite a character on her own--and the person who probably saved Churchill's career after Gallipoli.
Go see the film. It is much better than "Dunkirk" and does a very good job of laying out what a major bullet Western civilization dodged thanks to Winston Churchill.