Jun 012018
 

Darkest Hour is one of the better movies of 2017 and features a powerhouse, and Oscar-worthy, performance from Gary Oldman who proves once again that he is a chameleon no matter what role.

 

 

Darkest Hour
(2017)

Genre(s): Drama, War
Universal | PG13 – 125 min. – $37.98 | June 12, 2018

Date Published: 06/01/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Joe Wright
Writer(s): Anthony McCarten (written by)
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ben Mendelsohn
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K UHD, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: Portions were copied over from the original Blu-ray review.


THE MOVIE — 4.25/5


There have been quite a few movies about Winston Churchill including the biopic, Churchill starring Brian Cox which was, at best, meandering and Cox never quite embodied the role. And now there is Darkest Hour, one hell of a film with one hell of a performance deserving of an Academy Award, for whatever worth those are nowadays.

The film takes place over the course of four weeks in which Adolf Hitler was advancing on Europe and the United Kingdom was in turmoil, the Labor Party of parliament losing confidence in the current Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, who ultimately steps down. However, being in the Conservative Party, they appear to only have one option to step in: Winston Churchill (GARY OLDMAN), a boar of a man who doesn’t exactly speak eloquently.

Worst of all for Chamberlain, who wants nothing more than to appease and negotiate with Hitler, is Churchill very much wants to confront the dictator head-on, despite their forces and woeful weaponry, along with allies unwilling to fight. Oh, and not only does Churchill have little, if any, support from his own party, but the King George VI (BEN MENDOLSOHN) isn’t exactly a fan either. Behind the scenes, Chamberlain and foreign secretary Viscount Halifax (STEPHEN DILLANE) conspire to rid of him barely before he came into power.

Darkest Hour at its core is a movie about courage in the face of so many obstacles, and Churchill believed at his very core that Hitler must be confronted and appeasement would only lead to bad things for England. A good lesson that is no doubt lost in today’s political culture (on both sides of the aisle).

As I’ve said previously, any story surrounding the events on World War II are always of interest to me and this is another aspect that I hadn’t seen prior, or at least to this degree, and even though this is very much a talk-fest film with very little action, there are some brief war scenes to show the strife and stakes, it is an absolutely compelling drama from start to finish with strong dialogue.

All of those elements are punctuated by Gary Oldman, who has always of course been a great actor, described a chameleon, and it’s never has been on display as it was in this film. Oldman enormously gets lost in the role and you believe you are seeing the Churchill in the flesh, aided by just a convincing performance with passion be it in the quieter moments to the incredible speeches. This is without a doubt an Oscar-worthy performance.

Aiding Oldman, to a lesser extent, is an impressive supporting cast. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Churchill’s emotional crutch throughout his life but at this important juncture where the weight of a nation at the brink of war, was on his shoulders;  Ben Mendelsohn does a nice job as the King of England and shares some fine, even moving, scenes opposite Oldman; and Lily James serving as a character for the viewer’s access to Churchill.

Darkest Hour is one of my favorite movies of the year, mainly because of a transformative performance by Gary Oldman, beyond that, Joe Wright’s direction, as he did with Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, was tight and tells an engaging story that not many know about.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5


This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Into Darkest Hour (8:16; HD) – This featurette takes viewers behind the scenes with interview sound bites with the cast and crew (including Gary Oldman and Joe Wright). It’s a bit too short to be of much value, however.

Gary Oldman: Becoming Churchill (4:19; HD) here we get to see just the extensive work done for Oldman to transform into the man and how he approached to get the character just right. Really wish we got footage of Oldman getting the make-up done…

Audio Commentary – Director Joe Wright provides his staple commentary track that, as far as I know, does on all of his movies. This one is just as informative and entertaining if you appreciate getting some of the behind-the-scenes stories.

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Darkest Hour arrives on 4K only a few months after its Blu-ray release and is presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer. Having only recently reviewed the Blu-ray and doing a comparison, I can’t quite say this was a significant improvement over an already good picture. Even so, the video is rather sharp and black levels appear stark, though considering the darker nature and time period, colors do tend to be tamped down, outside of a few daylight scenes or when Churchill lit a match in a darkened room.

AUDIO – 4.25/5


As mentioned, the movie is mostly talk so the bulk of the audio does come from the center channel but thanks to this getting, strangely, a Dolby Atmos track, there is a slight boost when things like bombs exploding or Dario Marianelli’s oft poignant score, does encompass the other available channels.

 


OVERALL – 4.0/5


Overall, Darkest Hour is one of the better movies of 2017 and features a powerhouse, and Oscar-worthy, performance from Gary Oldman who proves once again that he is a chameleon no matter what role. The Blu-ray release has great video/audio transfers and some okay bonus material.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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