by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Nothing like a rousing World War II “never surrender” movie to lift the spirits from current political events; thus comes DARKEST HOUR, set for release from Focus Features on Nov. 22, the day US President John F. Kennedy was shot, not a coincidence one guesses.
“You can’t reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” bellows Gary Oldman as a very convincing and Oscar buzzy Winston Churchill. And he is backed up by formidable talent Kristin Scott Thomas as his wife, making DARKEST HOUR a film that looks to be an awards-slayer.
Watching Oscar nominee Goldman in the form of English bulldog Churchill is oddly thrilling, as he seems to be calling on every past iteration of all the layered characters he has ever played. There’s Dracula angst from Oldman’s other star turn in heavy pancake make-up, a bit of the gangster toughie he played in LAWLESS, and a dose of stoicism from his turn in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY.
You’ll also recognize faces in the supporting cast from “Game of Thrones” and the ever-watchable Lily James, with Ben Mendelsohn doing his best. Written by THEORY OF EVERYTHING screenwriter Anthony McCarten, it’s a smart script and perfect timing for a world weary of petty fights on the political stage today. This was a fight for the soul of Western civilization.
ATONEMENT director Joe Wright is on point in every scene here. And the official description details the high-water marks this film reaches.
“A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.”
SNEAK PEEK – DARKEST HOUR (Focus Features)
Focus will roll out DARKEST HOUR in select cities on Nov. 22, 2017.
Director: Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Hanna,” “Pride & Prejudice,” “Anna Karenina”)
Writer: Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”)
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.
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