‘Darkest Hour’ – A Review
The ‘Darkest Hour’ is an award-winning movie set as a historical drama taking place in May 1940 when Britain elected Sir Winston Churchill as the new Prime Minister. The film depicts Churchill as a great decisive leader who would upkeep Britain’s pride and not bend to Hitler´s tyranny. Throughout the scenes, we get a glimpse of his fight against the Nazis during the Second World War and his willingness to save as many soldiers stranded at Dunkirk, northern France, as possible.
‘The Darkest Hour,’ produced by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, was nominated for six Academy Awards, bagging the Oscars for ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling.’ It is to be noted that it took six months to develop and perfect the makeup of Gary Oldman. Reports say that approximately 40 Kg of makeup had to be used since Mr. Oldman needed to be in character almost daily.
The story begins in May 1940, when three million German troops reach the Belgian-Czechoslovakian border. The British parliament seems to be in its most chaotic situation and has lost faith in the moribund Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Hence, the Conservative Party hands this challenging job to Mr. Churchill because they believe he is the only candidate the opposition party would accept. Nevertheless, since Churchill is characterized as an old, fat, and eccentric man, Chamberlain and his colleague, Lord Halifax, start plotting to turf him out. Some other members of the War Cabinet, on the other hand, lobbies for a truce with Hitler thinking it would be peace. This peace was, however, not to be without severe consequences.
We follow Churchill amidst this fight of power and ploys. Through these dark times, his influence and strategist skills make him a favorite of the masses, earning him their support. The scene when Churchill first sets out on a train ride to meet King George VI – one where we get to see the mass’ support for Churchill as they shout that they would ‘Never’ surrender to or cower before Hitler and follow their Prime Minister – is particularly endearing. The ‘Darkest Hour’ is a roller coaster of emotions and engages the empathies of its viewers towards the politician. As Churchill is at low, troubled with negotiations of peace and his aversion for Hitler, the support of his dear wife and his secretary, Miss Layton, brings warmth into the movie.
Throughout the movie, Churchill is seen to have typical English humor. What struck me, however, was his humanity, humility, and honesty. Admittedly, he was often rude and eccentric. Nevertheless, his being a most sympathetic character transcends his petty behaviors. Seeking advice from the mass in the train, his compassion for his secretary, and his firm decision to rescue 300 000 stranded and endangered soldiers in Dunkirk are some of his most exceptional traits. His first parliamentarian speech whereby he vowed to work in unity with all parties and the nation and offer nothing but ‘Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat’ was incredibly passionate, thought-provoking, and moving.
I believe that the movie’s scenario is comparable to our current situation about the Covid-19 pandemic. Any government should take into account the opinion of the population and that of the opposition party to win this battle against the invisible enemy. Perhaps, we could draw inspiration from Churchill’s strong leadership and strategies to find a convenient and effective way to deal with this crisis. With the support and contribution of each worldwide, we shall be stronger.
Written by Dreeshika Ganoo