Eleven: Darkest Hour, Personal Insignificance, Turning 30, and the Glory of “Littleness”

I have been looking forward to Darkest Hour since it was first announced. If you follow Gary Oldman’s career as I do, you gather that the man seems to enjoy working more than he feels energized to gun for awards (see his recent films, Criminal and Hitman’s Bodyguard), so I was jazzed by the fact that this would be not only a serious leading role for Oldman, obviously, but also that Darkest Hour was to be helmed by an auteur. Director Joe Wright is known for his visually arresting filmmaking and has worked the awards circuit for over a decade thanks to his period pieces like Atonement and Anna Karenina. One glance at his filmography may remind us that Wright has a flair for the theatrical (and also the Keira Knightley, who, strangely, is nowhere to be found in DH), his pieces ooze with atmosphere and flirt with Sirkian melodrama (he also directed Pan, but we don’t talk about that). It was reassuring to think that a popular subject like Churchill would be in the hands of someone who might be capable of resurrecting him with the same liveliness and change of perspective that Wright brought to Pride & Prejudice (yeah I love that adaptation, come at me).

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it sucks to be… panned.
  • Darkest Hour’s ranking on the Oldometer: 8/10
  • Gary Oldman character quality: Gary plays the iconic historical figure Winston Churchill, so obviously there’s alot goin’ on there. While the remarkable makeup deserves some recognition, Oldman gives his best performance here since Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and he’s gonna get the Oscar.
  • Does Gary die in this one? No.

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