Darkest Hour (PG)
Starring Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas
Directed by Joe Wright
Gary Oldman, buried in tons of make-up and barely recognisable, is up for Best Actor at this week’s Golden Globes for his electrifying portrayal as British PM Winston Churchill in this gripping thriller set in the critical four weeks in 1940 — when Britain has to decide whether to make peace with the triumphant Nazi Germany or resist the evil empire to the end.
Intrigue, humour (yes, it’s possible even in time of war) and incredible performances keep this movie, deftly helmed by Joe Wright (Atonement), from turning into a standard-issue biopic and stodgy history lesson.
Actually, it plays like a prequel to Netflix’s lavish royal family drama The Crown — where John Lithgow gives a just-as-commanding turn as Churchill in his post-WWII days — and a side-quel to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, where you’d learn more about the planning of Operation Dynamo. (****)