The Movie: 10/10
Historic events are a big part of our story telling, and always has been. We are bound to some kind of struggle to learn from our past, and we learn through the retelling of it, even if we skew it often in a direction that supports a current perspective. I appreciate Darkest Hour for telling the rousing story of a moment in history and how the events and decisions made steered Europe and probably the whole world of people in a direction away from being taken over by tyranny. The particulars of any true life section of history are never going to be depicted later with 100% accuracy, but we are talking about it in the context of becoming an entertaining movie. I can live with the fictions they added in to tell it as a film story, and not as a documentary.
When I can’t fault a movie it’s harder to talk about. I don’t have anything I would change or anything that stood out that bugged me at all. In fact, I didn’t even move through the whole movie. I was just locked in from start to finish. I wasn’t watching to review. I was watching to be entertained and let rise that feeling of pride in being part of a complex species. I know, that sounds weird, but the complications of being human are overwhelming sometimes. The notions of dominance and control, nations and boundaries, survival vs. living a full life away from fear and political pretense, sadly war and stories of war often point directly to what is positive and what is negative about us.
The performances are stellar, and I’m not the first to acknowledge this, so go read other people’s impressions about each member of the cast . I would be here all day if I pointed out every good quality of every single person….all good.
The style of the movie has a hint of theater, some grit but not much, and every shot is beautiful. It adds to the reality that this is a fictional telling of a part of history. The sets and look of every detail kept me lost in every scene, so it all kind of disappeared, but that’s good. Sometimes the sets and costumes of a period piece can be a bit on the stylized side, and while this isn’t a documentary, it still all melted together to take me to that place and time.
Overall, can you tell I liked it? Loved it actually.
- Audio Commentary With Director Joe Wright
- Into Darkest Hour (8 Minutes) – A short look at the timeline of the film and the making of some of they key scenes.
- Gary Oldman: Becoming Churchill (4 Minutes) – A look at what it took to transform Gary Oldman into Churchill.
- Blu-ray, DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
I like the image of Gary Oldman as Churchill, but I wouldn’t have it as a poster in my house for one really lame reason…I HATE smoke and smoking and images of smoking and particularly cigars. Yes, ridiculous, but there ya go. I would have an image of the map room wall, or of Churchill sitting dazed and worried as he is in one scene. I don’t need the perceived iconic image people seem to love staying attached to.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Darkest Hour takes after the title of the film in that most of the movie takes place in dark gloomy interiors. The 1080P AVC transfer that Universal have engineered makes every scene look incredible. Detail is very evident on Churchill’s face and it’s a testament to how good the makeup and prosthetic’s are. This is a very very good Blu-ray transfer, it’s a shame there is no 4K release of the film yet.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack does not really use the overhead channel at all. What it does do though is provide depth to the speeches throughout the movie. The score is very prominent in the film and this track does a good job of showcasing it. Dialog is very clean and precise and LFE rears its head during a bombing scene.
Overall Score 10/10