Darkest Hour (2017)

I should preface this review by pointing out that no matter what I say in this, never let it be said that I didn’t think this film was impressive. The cinematography was superb, the way the shots were composed was a thing of beauty. The acting was magnificent and hard to fault. But the downsides. Over the last few years I’ve noticed I get emotional very easily during films when I watch them at the cinema. It truly doesn’t take much to bring tears to my eyes during films lately. I felt nothing during this movie. Absolutely nothing. There was not a single genuinely emotive sequence during it. There were moments which had emotive performances, and emotive music, but I never really felt anything whilst watching them. It was all too sterile. It was like an aliens idea of what human emotion would be. There is one exception. There’s a scene near the end where Churchill takes a tube train to Westminster and starts talking to the general public. This scene is emotive. You get to see panic, fear, and hope. As a piece of screenwriting, it’s great, and as a character piece, it’s superb. It’s also bullshit. There’s no evidence that it happened, at all. So in a story set during a period of time where you couldn’t throw a dart out of a zeppelin without hitting an emotive story, this film has to invent something to get an emotive response. There are countless other historical inaccuracies. Some you’d have to be a bit weird to get annoyed about “the trains don’t look exactly the same”, to some which just seem a bit cruel. For example, it paints Neville Chamberlain and Halifax (the person, not the bank) as scheming villains who did their best to destroy Churchill, which is something neither of them even attempted. I have a huge problem with this kind of thing. Because, like it or not, people will be taking lessons from this. Doesn’t matter how many times the writers or directors say “this is mostly embellished”, people will still believe it. For evidence of this look at the damage that Robin Hood has done to King John. This isn’t a fictional character you’re saying these things about, these are real people with actual ancestors still alive today, ancestors who would like to take pride in the actions of their descendants but are unable to because of BS like this. Did you really need to give a real character a villain upgrade just for your film to work? If that’s the case, then your film has a broken concept and doesn’t work. Plus, it’s not as though World War 2 was lacking in villainous characters, you didn’t need to invent one. There’s some stuff which is a bit weirder than that in terms of historical accuracy, one of the main characters wasn’t even in the country at the time of the events. It would be like if you were watching a show about 9/11 and one of the main characters was Justin Bieber.

I know this sounds like a negative review and that that I disliked it. That would be wrong, I did like it. I just didn’t really love it, and everything positive has already been said, and by people much smarter and more eloquent than I am. So going over them again would be a bit pointless.

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