The Darkest hour begins with a speech typical of the English parliament. Armed with callous words, the opposition leader takes down a Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) for his policy that empowered Hitler (Appeasement policy). We are introduced to a bulky Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in his bed room, with alcohol along with breakfast on bed.
The wheels are already in motion for Churchill to be Prime Minister. He is Ted Crux of the conservative party in 1940. His own party hates him for his attitude and some old policies. Even the King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) at one point states that he is scared of what would come out from the mouth of Churchill. The whole party machinery is backing Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane). However, with Germany threatening to hit England, a government was to be formed with opposition’s consent. Viscount Halifax and his partners (in crime if you will) were trying to use Churchill’s inability to speak with restrain and his hate for Hitler, to cut his tenure short.
With Belgium, Netherlands and partly France coming under Nazi rule, Churchill was under huge pressure from within his war cabinet to allow Viscount Halifax to do a deal with Hilter, with the help of Benito Mussolini. Churchill out rightly rejects, stalls and reluctantly allows this approach. While the fails to find support within his party, parliament or from the US President, he finds power from civilians, who help in evacuating hundreds of thousands of soldiers from Dunkirk (watch that one if you still haven’t). Furthermore, for the 2nd time in his life he takes the famous London tube, and conducts a tawdry referendum of sorts. People of that carriage reject any appeasement with Hitler. This removes all self-doubt and empower the man to take the decision we all know he took. The speech at the parliament, nails his spot as a great war time leader.
We pretty much know the story beforehand. So, this wasn’t really a spoiler. In short, this film is a decent watch with Piercing dialogues and tremendous acting all around. Kristin Scott Thomas as wife (Clemmie) of Churchill is reassuring and assertive. She is one reality check Churchill has. Joe Wright, the director has been able to capture the tension of the time. there are some scenes like the tube scene and family gathering which spell out emotion in caps, but they are few and passable.
If Super hero films aren’t your thing, this could be your weekend watch.