Darkest Hour: What You Need To Know
Winston Churchill is hardly a man who needs any introduction and the wartime British Prime minister has enjoyed numerous outings on the big screen before, but his latest appearance in cinemas earned the men and women behind Darkest Hour six nominations and two wins at the 90th Academy Awards in March this year, and after a well-reviewed run in cinemas the film arrives in hmv stores this week on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K.
Here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
Gary Oldman stars alongside a cast that includes Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup and Stephen Dillane.
And who's directing?
Joe Wright, whose previous films include Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, is the man in the director's chair.
What's the plot?
In May of 1940, with Hitler's forces advancing across Belgium, The Netherlands and Northern France, Neville Chamberlain is forced to resign as Prime Minister under pressure from both his own party and the Labour opposition, with parliament now firmly of the opinion that he is not the man to guide them through the conflict with Nazi Germany. Although Winston Churchill is by no means a unanimous favourite to succeed him, Chamberlain reluctantly appoints him anyway, fearing that he is the only available choice parliament will accept.
With British forces trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk, Churchill faces a huge decision that could determine the fate of Britain and its empire; his war cabinet, fearing the situation in Northern France will end in catastrophic depletion of British forces, are now broadly of the opinion that negotiating with Hitler is the only way to prevent a successful invasion of British shores. Churchill's French counterpart
However, the new Prime Minister receives an unannounced visit from King George, who urges him to continue fighting. Unsure what to do, Churchill takes his first ever ride on the London underground and asks the public what they think, with every response agreeing with the stance of the King.
Churchill decides not to negotiate and when Operation Dynamo – the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk – proves much more successful than first imagined, Churchill begins to rally parliament and support from other allied nations, marking a turning point in the conflict.
Does it deliver?
It certainly delivered for Gary Oldman, who picked up a well deserved Oscar for Best Actor as a result of his powerhouse of a performance as the wartime Prime Minister. Some of the credit for Oldman's transformation must go to the film's Oscar-winning hair & make up team, of course, but the actor's talismanic presence carries the film's narrative throughout, projecting Churchill's vulnerability equally as deftly as his sheer bloody-minded determination. Churchill is no stranger to the big screen, but Darkest Hour highlights a key period in the events of WWII and Churchill's pivotal role in determining the outcome.
Darkest Hour is available in stores from Monday June 4th, you can also find it here in our online store...