Winston Churchill (at least the Churchill portrayed in The Darkest Hour) drank from the time he woke up to the time he went to bed. A man after our own heart and we like to think he’d add Critic’s Cocktail to his favorites. But he might not add this post! The Darkest Hour is cinematic C-Span with only one bright light. Even if you’re not a student of history you already know how it turns out, since Christopher Nolan put all the spoilers in his historic epic Dunkirk.
This Means War
The Darkest Hour looks at the political struggles to decide who would lead England against the Nazis, or try to make peace with them. It turns out not everyone was thrilled to see the tough talking, cigar smoking, booze swilling Winston move in to number 10 Downing Street, and there is lots of discussion about it. Lots and lots of discussion. Now if you’re a fan of C-Span (and really, who isn’t?) you already know that watching Prime Minister’s Questions is Must See TV. But we’re not sure if coughing up $12 to watch a retro version play out on a bigger screen is a good use of our money. That’s cash that could go towards a beer and a whisky back and produce the same numbing effect!
The Other Side of Dunkirk
All the events are going on parallel to the story told in Nolan’s Dunkirk. The behind-the-scenes political plotting and backstabbing go down while British forces are backed up on the beach. If some creative editor (who likes to play fast and loose with those pesky copyright laws) were to combine The Darkest Hour and Dunkirk into one, action packed yet politically coherent movie we’d have ourselves a contender for Best Picture. They could call it The Dark Night.
At the top of this review we mentioned a bright spot. That bright spot is Gary Oldman who portrays Churchill. He is spot on in look and dialect and completely unrecognizable as himself. He may be nominated for Best Actor Oscar, but his makeup team deserves recognition too.
The Critic’s Recommendation
Scotch. Winston drinks scotch, we drink Scotch. Scotch and water for Act 1. Scotch rocks for Act 2. Scotch neat for the finale. Trust us, you don’t need to be able to understand the unending dialogue to get the gist of what’s happening through Scotch haze.