This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here. Check out my Instagram page for pictures of the Canadian premiere.
Synopsis: During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds. (Focus Features)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Lily James, and Ben Mendelsohn
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Director: Joe Wright
Running Time: 114mins
Now there has already been a film about Dunkirk this year with Christopher Nolan’s amazing film Dunkirk and another film about Winston Churchill called Churchill (which I haven’t seen). Most people at this point probably know about the rescue mission at Dunkirk but what about the other side? Here we get it from the perspective of Churchill (Oldman), from his unlikely rise to power to his leading of the British through WWII. His rise was unlikely due to his lack of experience and the fact that he was not liked within his own party. As Prime Minister, Churchill had to make some difficult decisions that not everyone agreed with. Watching Churchill rise through this process was exciting to watch.
Besides Churchill, there wasn’t much else to be had here. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing since his journey was so compelling to watch and no one came remotely close to him impact wise. There were a few little subplots, however they ultimately didn’t matter. The film was carried by Oldman’s powerfully imposing performance. He simply transformed into Churchill to the point that it was easy to forget that it was Oldman playing him. The work on his makeup and prosthetics should be commended for this as well.
Overall, this was an engaging and insightful historical drama, carried by a powerful, award-worthy performance from Gary Oldman.