Movie Review: Darkest Hour

by Steve Lancaster12/24/17
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.


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2 Responses to Movie Review: Darkest Hour

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Gary Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg was amazing. I would not of thought of him as playing Churchill. But then the man can indeed act.

    I look forward to seeing this film, particularly after the reputedly horrible effort of “Dunkirk.” It would be interesting to hear what you think of John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in “The Crown.” He seemed to capture the look if not the voice.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    So this basically covers the first few weeks of Churchill’s first term as Prime Minister — including the key meeting in which Neville Chamberlain crucially sided with Churchill for continuing the war over Lord Halifax seeking peace even at the price of surrender. With this and Dunkirk, it’s been a bumper crop year for World War II movies. Perhaps it’s because of the Trump = Hitler tommyrot.

    Germany did deploy a 4-engined bomber, the He-177. But due to a weird piece of stupidity, it was never very effective. Under the influence of Ernst Udet, Germany had decided that all its bombers should have dive-bombing capability. But they realized that nothing larger than a 2-engined bomber could dive (and the Ju-88 was never really good at it). So they decided that if they placed the 2 engines on each wing together, it would be 2 engines instead of 4, and the bomber could dive. Naturally this never really worked, and meanwhile the paired engines had a tendency to catch dire.

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