Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Pickup’

Victory at Any Cost

Darkest Hour

Director: Joe Wright

Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, Samuel West, David Schofield, Joe Armstrong, David Strathairn

Oscar nominee Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) gives an Oscar worthy performance in his nuanced portrayal of cantankerous British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill whose face is completely transformed to look like Churchill thanks to the superb makeup and prosthetic by Kazuhiro Tsuji.

Acclaimed director of Atonement Joe Wright is the perfect candidate to steer this compelling political war drama Darkest Hour as the story meticulously tracks the events from Churchill’s inauguration as prime minister, including a particularly refined scene between the PM and King George VI wonderfully played by Ben Mendelsohn to the anxious events leading up to the ingenuous evacuation of British troops from the beaches at Dunkirk, successfully anticipated and engineered by Churchill himself and the British sea going public.

If Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Dunkirk is a stunning depiction of that crucial maritime military evacuation, then Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour is the companion film showing the political and administrative events which lead to that escape from the invading Nazi forces which were aggressively sweeping across the European continent in May 1940.

The fact that both Dunkirk and Darkest Hour are vying for Best Picture at the 90th Oscars is a testament to how exceptional both films are made. Joe Wright should have got an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

At the heart of Darkest Hour is Gary Oldman’s finest onscreen performance, a superb acting tour-de-force in which he completely embodies every aspect of Winston Churchill from his unconventional drinking habits to his affectionate if often tumultuous relationship with his level headed wife Clementine superbly played by Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient).

Oldman’s performance rarely falters and actually improves as Darkest Hour progresses, a performance with such gusto and insight that all audiences will see is Winston Churchill, a seasoned politician, a risk taker and a man who had the entire fate of the British nation in his sometimes shaky hands, yet who realized the gravity of the approaching invasion of the Germans at the beginning of World War II.

Churchill’s doubt about whether the British must fight Hitler to the bitter end or sue for an untrustworthy peace is conveyed in an extremely relevant scene between him and the king who politely suggests that perhaps as prime minister, Churchill should seek advice from the British public, encapsulated in a jingoistic scene whereby he discusses the grave decision with commuters on the London underground before stepping off at Westminster.

Aided by theatrical costumes by Oscar winner Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina) and a sumptuous production design, Darkest Hour is an epic film made all the more riveting by a staggering performance by Gary Oldman who must surely get the long awaited recognition he deserves for his limitless acting talent and his pivotal contribution to world cinema.

Darkest Hour gets a Film rating: 9.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended for viewers that love historical biographies such as The King’s Speech and The Iron Lady.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  
  • Berlin: Kim Ki-duk Beats Back #MeToo Accusers, Talks Violence in Movies
    For the often controversial Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk, his first press event in Berlin since a court ruling on the assault of an actress was a case of mission accomplished. Kim was in Berlin to present his Panorama-selected film “Human, Space, Time and Human.” But he became a target of the #MeToo anti-sexual violence cause […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Berlin Film Review: ‘Dovlatov’
    The struggles of dissident writers in the Soviet Union will likely always remain a key theme of Russian cinema, ripe for ruminating on unappreciated artists in society and the fight for recognition notwithstanding power concentrated in the hands of apparatchiks. Maverick director Alexey German Jr. brings his signature dreamlike vision to the subject with “Dovlatov,” […]
    jayweissberg
  • Berlin: Fox’s ‘Lino 3D’ Closes Italy with Sony, France (EXCLUSIVE)
    FilmSharks Intl. has closed Italy with Sony and France with ProgramStore, among new major territories, on Rafael Ribas’ animated feature “Lino 3D,” a comedy-adventure produced by Brazil’s Start Anima and Fox Intl. Prods. The licensing pacts add to announced deals for Russia/CIS (Big Film) and South Korea (Hammer Pictures). Greece (Tanweer), Turkey (Sinema) and Vietnam […]
    John Hopewell
  • Europe Doubles Down on Remakes (EXCLUSIVE)
    Europe is revving up its remake business. As in the U.S., where Lionsgate launched local production-distribution outfit Globalgate in 2016, the companies leading the remake effort in Europe are among those producing the continent’s most commercially aggressive international titles: Dimitri Rassam’s Chapter 2, Germany’s Constantin, Italy’s Medusa and Spain’s Telecinco Cinema. Paris-based Rassam is a […]
    John Hopewell
  • Haley Bennett, Matthias Schweighoefer in Talks to Join ‘Resistance,’ Starring Jesse Eisenberg
    Haley Bennett, who gained acclaim for “The Girl on the Train” and “The Magnificent Seven,” and German star Matthias Schweighoefer are in talks to take key lead roles in writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz’s “Resistance,” alongside Jesse Eisenberg. The movie follows the life of mime artist Marcel Marceau (played by Eisenberg) and his involvement in the French […]
    Leo Barraclough