Darkest Hour

Watched: 23 January

Worth watching for the excellent performance by Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill – which, although it’s absolutely the kind of historical British impersonation many critics and Academy voters lap up, is still undeniably impressive, with convincing make-up work augmenting a showy, shouty but believable portrait of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. The rest of the film is resolutely average, largely set within the murky corridors and rooms of the Cabinet War Rooms as Churchill considers surrendering to the Germans on the eve of the Dunkirk evacuation during the Second World War; much like last year’s Churchill, in which Brian Cox played the former Prime Minister, it’s intriguing to see an emphasis on the doubts that plagued a figure who has been subsequently lionised as an example of stoic, unwavering defiance. The now-infamous Tube scene is every bit as cringeworthy as I’d feared. (**½)