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Darkest Hour DVD
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on February 9, 2018
I literally just read a 1 star review of this movie because the person was offended by Churchill (Oldman) lighting up a cigar. That person obviously overlooked the entire movie over the fact that Churchill did smoke cigars, often. Anyway... I digress.

If Oldman does not win the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal, I might just have to quit watching movies (which would make me very sad). His performance was so stunning. There was never a time during the film that I didn't think I wasn't watching the actual Winston Churchill. Just the mannerisms, posture, detail to the voice of Churchill, Oldman's portrayal was perfection. The outstanding makeup only added to Oldman's performance.

I did read some reviews that said this movie was completely historically inaccurate. My response to that is: A) it's not a documentary, and B) the major points were accurate. My husband is an avid student of WWII history, and he felt the movie was phenomenal. It's Hollywood, they are going to dramatize things. If you want complete historical accuracy, watch a documentary.

The cinematography was very interesting. It matches the movie's title poster. Very lighted on Winston, but a feeling of a vignette of darkness around him. Sometimes the effect was softer, and others it was very sharp and contrasting. I felt this added some emotional depth to the movie, and added some insight to how isolated he felt during his first days as PM.

I am probably going to watch The King's Speech, Darkest Hour and Dunkirk in that order on the same day...
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on December 26, 2017
Spent just over two hours Christmas Day sitting with my wife in a packed theater here in Fort Myers, FL being transported back in time as I watched Gary Oldman deliver the best acting job of his life. The Darkest Hour may not be a factual, moment by moment account of what took place in those critical few days before the British people in their little boats managed to pull off one of the most unbelievable rescues of all time, but it sure has all the rich detail one would expect to read about in the most authoritative historical account. The only thing missing IMHO, were young people in the theater, who apparently find the pure fiction of the latest 'Star Wars' episode more appealing. One can only hope their parents, or grandparents take the time to bring them to see this so that can better understand why the study of history really does matter. Hats off to those responsible for creating this masterpiece.
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on February 6, 2018
Over past decades I've often viewed film-clips of Sir Winston Churchill's various speaking engagements. When, several minutes into this film, I watched a closeup of Gary Oldman's portrayal in giving one of Churchill's speeches ... Oldman BECAME Churchill right before my eyes! A marvelous performance. The reality was there, the sincerity and believability of that day-and-time were convincingly genuine. I doubt some of the scenes depicted actually took place in real life, but they all lent themselves well to the core of the story, and the magnificence of Sir Winston Churchill. In all the annals of time, never have I read of any such perfectly timed, perfectly prepared, group of men who came together at the right time, in the right places to defend the world against evil as they did in World War 2 - and Sir Winston Churchill was one of those men. The movie is of the "must see" category - especially if one is interested in statesmanship.
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"Darkest Hour" (2017 release; 125 min.) is a movie about Winston's Churchill's initial month in office. As the movie opens. we are reminded it is "9 May 1940", with the Nazi's about to run over Holland and Belgium, and the UK looking for a new leader following Chamberlain. We get to know Churchill: working from his bed, with a stiff drink, and almost scaring away his new secretary (because she typed single-spaced). While certainly not revered by his colleagues (and oven less by King George), Winston Churchill nevertheless get his lifelong dream fulfilled and is named Prime Minister on May 10th. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from British director Joe Wright, whose previous work includes the fine 2012 remake of "Anna Karenina". Here, working from a script by Anthony McCarten, we get a close look at Churchill in his early days as Prime Minister. The movie covers the period of May 9-28, 1940, so this by no means meant as a definitive bio-pick f the life and times of Winston Churchill, who had an amazing and long political career, spanning 5 decades. If you hope to learn anything about Churchill's personal life, then this movie is definitely not for you (his wife Clementine appears in some scenes, and their grown-up kids in exactly 1 scene). If on the other hand you are curious how Churchill ran his War Cabinet or how Churchill dealt with King George, then this movie is very much for you. I have no idea whether all of what we see on the big screen actually happened or not (did Churchill really take that subway ride to be "among the British people"?), but the narrative is certainly there. And there there is Gary Oldman, in the role of his life as Winston Churchill. Oldman is virtually unrecognizable under all of the heavy makeup, and instead it is as if we see Churchill in the flesh. A role like this in a movie like this, is sure to generate a LOT of nominations in the upcoming awards season (Oldman was already nominated for the Golden Globes). Comments Churchill's wife at one point: "You are wise because you have doubts", and that about sums it up. It's apparently very lonely at the top, and riddled ith doubts. WHat a job Churchill did under the most demanding of circumstances. Last but certainly not least, as I was watching this movie, it feels like the other side of the coin to "Dunkirk", a very different movie obviously, but covering some of the same historical ground and facts. "Darkest Hour" is also far better than the weak "Churchill" movie from earlier this year (starring Brian Cox).

"Darkest Hours" opened on 4 screens this weekend here in Cincinnati. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at (in a fairly large theater) was absolutely jam-packed to the rafters, much to my surprise. Looks like there is a large appetite for this type of historical drama. I encourage you to check out "Darkest Hour", be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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on February 8, 2018
As an American, I've only known WWII from the US perspective. This is a very moving film that gives an insight and testament to the core pride of the British people to never give up even in the face of dire adversity. Courage in the face of doubts. I really enjoyed the movie. The actor playing Churchill was phenomenal. This has got to win an Oscar.
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on March 19, 2018
As someone interested in history, but who is not a scholar, I decided to do a bit of homework before watching the movies Dunkirk (2017) (BD) [Blu-ray] and Darkest Hour. I looked them up on the Internet, using resources like Wikipedia to simply get the gist of what was going on, historically, so I might better grasp the dramatizations created in the two movies. I watched Dunkirk first, and Darkest Hour a few days later.

Because I was so bowled over by both movies, I can confidently recommend that these films be watched back to back, because they cover the same period, both specifically (Dunkirk – one event) and generally (Darkest Hour – about a nation’s resolve, leading into the war years). Conversely, the action of Dunkirk is seen through the eyes of an “everyman” character, a soldier among many soldiers, sailors and airmen, mostly nameless, but who made up the forces, which eventually helped England, defend itself from Hitler’s massive assault machine during World War II. Because they had been successfully evacuated from the encircled Dunkirk, British forces were able to regroup and come back stronger. Had this event not occurred, they might have been largely wiped out, and the war could have had an entirely different and deeply tragic conclusion.

Meanwhile, Darkest Hour takes up the story from the perspective of Winston Churchill, portrayed brilliantly by Gary Oldman, who deservedly won the 2017 Best Actor Oscar for this film, along with his wife, his young secretary, members of the British Parliament, and even the King.

Dunkirk is a mesmerizing and relentless portrayal of a turning point in a battle that was very nearly lost. In case readers here want to be kept in suspense, I won’t reveal its climactic moments, but this same time in history is briefly visualized in Darkest Hour. Both films have incredibly moving sequences. The aerial dogfights in Dunkirk were made real by the filmmakers’ refusal to turn them into some kind of Star Wars, breakneck-speed fest. It’s clear by the fine details that these airmen were working with technology quite primitive by today’s standards. Because we are invited into their cockpits through the use of beautifully calculated camera close-ups, their heroism becomes palpable, and we sweat and grit our teeth and hold on to our seats as if we were in there with them. Two scenes in the final half hour of Dunkirk may resonate with some viewers long after the movie is over. They did me, not to mention the breathtaking cinematography (shots of the beaches from the air, with thousands of men lined up to be rescued while the Germans continued their bombing raids, are among the most memorable scenes in the movie).

While Dunkirk is saturated in tones of aqua, blue, pale yellow, green and white, Darkest Hour uses warm browns and sepias, with accents of red, orange, navy blue and beige. It is another animal entirely, but is a perfect counterpoint, dramatically and emotionally, to Dunkirk. Churchill, I learned from my research, was a tremendously complex individual, with a history of both failures and successes in various leadership roles. He had detractors as well as champions. While other portions of his life and career apparently revealed him as a deeply flawed human being, what Darkest Hour makes clear is that he was a tremendous communicator, and it was much to his credit that England did not surrender, but fought to the bitter end, and with the help of its allies, arose triumphant. Now I’m not knowledgeable enough to speculate that the British Empire would have triumphed over the Nazis if America had not finally been sucked into the war. But Darkest Hour pulls out all the emotional stops as it races toward its conclusion, and I was left with both tears and renewed astonishment at the fortitude of a small nation’s resilience, sacrifice and determination – all foreshadowed in the speeches of Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour is not an action film, and yet compared to Dunkirk, it seems to be over much, much faster. Personally, I attribute this to the extraordinary Gary Oldman. This is surely his finest hour on the Big Screen!

Each of these two movies is stronger, I think, because of the existence of the other. The prime message that I took from this pair of fine films was not so much some notion of the “glory of war,” but just how valuable and hard won is the peace. During World War II, Hollywood movies seem to have been created as rallying cries to the battlefield and to victory, with manly men proudly marching into danger and destruction, and sturdy women working in the factories and keeping “the home fires burning” – and these entertainments often fulfilled their purpose. Dunkirk and Darkest Hour accomplish something a bit different – to remind us of the necessity of shared sacrifice, so important when the world faced down the “Great Dictator,” but which seems almost like a foreign, impossible concept now. I don’t see any leaders today who have the strength of character of a Winston Churchill, who can help us put aside our petty differences and to see ourselves as a nation with common goals, a society capable of achieving some kind of unity while remaining free. Woe to us if we ever have to face another Hitler!
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on March 1, 2018
I've always been a fan of Churchill. I own THE GATHERING STORM with Albert Finney as Churchill and Vanessa Redgrave as Clemmie, which is about the years before this movie and INTO THE STORM which is about what happened after the war. So this one fits nicely into the middle of the collection. However, there was a lot I did not know about those first days of him in office. I was surprised that Neville Chamberlain was still being listened to after his disastrous agreement with Hitler. And I was impressed with King George. Gary Oldman, of course deserves the Oscar for best actor. He entirely disappears into his character. But all the other actors were superb as well. Kristin Scott Thomas is a wonderful Clemmie. And Lily James is wonderful as the insecure secretary. The actor who plays the King should also get a nomination. I recommend that if you like this movie, you look up the other two here on amazon.
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on February 21, 2018
Love me some overweight Gary Oldman. Sucked me in and his portrayal of Churchill shows how he truly loved his family but always put his service to Britain first. Makes for a complicated and nuanced character behind the iron will and biting wit we all remember him for. A bit of a tearjerker, but it doesn't feel contrived since it is set at a time that the protagonist has to make decisions of life and death while trying to evacuate an entire army from Dunkirk and try to buy time with the lives of other soldiers. Highly Recommended.
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This movie often portrays Churchill as a doddering old fool: He was anything but that! I've read other books on Churchill, listened to his speeches and film clips; this movie misses more than it hits. There are several Darkest Hour fact checking websites dealing with the accuracy of the events, timelines, relationships, and characters' personalities; they also found the movie interesting but lacking. For instance Churchill's famous "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech was made six days after the rescue of the troops from Dunkirk, not before. His confidence came because England had received back 300,000 of her troops and not merely hopeful but empty bravado. The idea of using private vessels to help rescue soldiers was not originally Churchill's; the Admiralty had the idea and preparations in place weeks ahead of the event. Don't prep for a history test based on this movie.
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on March 14, 2018
Gary Oldman deserved the Oscar he won. When I saw him on the Hollywood stage, I would hardly have believed the movie character was the same man. I liked Lily James and Kristen Scott Thomas, too; their performances were very strong.
I do quite a lot of reading about World War II. This movie covers the time period people hear much less about: the eve of war for Britain when Churchill struggled to persuade the British parliament that the only way to deal with Hitler was war. I heard some twenty-somethings make fun of this movie recently, and that dismayed me. May they one day have the courage to stand up to tyranny even half as well as Churchill and his generation did.
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