by Steve Lancaster 12/24/17
Wife and I avoided the lines for Last Jedi yesterday in favor of Gary Oldman and Winston Spenser Churchill. It was a good choice. The movie covers the time from the German invasion of France to the evacuation at Dunkirk. Oldman is front and center throughout the entire movie. He is in my opinion one of those rare actors who can take on a character and make it exist on the screen. Perhaps the best character actor of a generation.
He has been Dracula (1992), Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element (1997) Commissioner Gordon in the Batman trilogy (2005-2012), and the enigmatic George Smiley in Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (2012). Even voiceovers in video games, Call of Duty.
Churchill died during my high school years. I recall my dad making me listen some of his early speeches on CBS, I think it was, when he died in 1965. My father, a Pacific Marine vet and Korea vet, said that without Churchill Europe would have sunk into a crater never to emerge. Historical movies being what they are; in this case I give Churchill his due credit from 75 years into the future. I suppose, we could argue that Churchill at least gave Europe a chance to become great again.
It is not just the speeches, of which Darkest Hour is one of his best. It is also his uncompromising attitude with the evil of the Naaaazi regime. I wish I could write that with the venom that Churchill said it.
Most of all this is a movie about the qualities of leadership. Churchill had it in abundance and his political opponents had little, if any. Victor Davis Hanson in his latest book, The Second World Wars, makes the very valid point that England and the Empire single-handedly had the resources to defeat Germany and that by mid 1940 were producing more fighters and 4-engine bombers than Germany, who never built a 4-engine bomber. And, with the support of the Commonwealth, would be able to field an army and navy equal to the Germans.
But, even with all the resources in the world, without leadership the downward spiral cannot be averted. Perhaps, the last year has shown the difference between leadership and the PC crowd. I recommend that every never Trumper, and closet Marxist be required to sit up front in the theater for Darkest Hour.