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Darkest Hour


Stars: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Samuel West, David Strathairn (voice)

Director: Joe Wright

This affecting, if at times fanciful film focuses solely on the month of May 1940, as Winston Churchill (an impressive Oldman) is called to the UK premiership to replace the vacillating Neville Chamberlain (Pickup), who is in any case terminally ill.

Britain is at war with Germany, and all Europe is crumbling under the Nazi jackboot. 'I have nothing to offer,' Churchill declares, 'but blood, toil, tears and sweat'.

The new premier soon discovers that those items are the last things on the minds of the influential appeasers led by Chamberlain and a spectral Lord Halifax (Dillane). Churchill is sceptical of their ideas - 'you cannot reason with a tiger,' he roars, 'when your head is in its mouth' - but feels cornered into suing for peace.

Pickup and Dillane are sternly excellent as what we might now regard as the bad guys, but it is of course Oldman who dominates the film, as near a dead ringer to Churchill as a ton of latex will allow.

David Quinlan

UK 2017. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
119 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 04 Jun 2018

DVD review