Kristen Scott-Thomas and Gary Oldman in 'Darkest Hour.'
Photo courtesy of Focus Features via AP
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That's one of the key messages of "Darkest Hour," in which Gary Oldman embodies – fiercely and memorably – the legendary Winston Churchill, who rallied his country with soaring oratory when Britain's very survival was at stake."Buggering it up" was certainly a risk – both for Churchill, and for Oldman or any actor attempting to embody the man.Directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten, "Darkest Hour" focuses on one month in 1940 that saw Churchill rise to office and face down his political foes and a wary British monarch as he navigated the threat of looming war against Adolf Hitler's forces.Though Wright is known for his sweeping filmmaking in another war film, "Atonement," here he focuses not on the beaches of Dunkirk but on dimly lit interiors like the underground war rooms at Westminster Palace, the halls of Parliament and Churchill's own bedroom.Churchill was a compromise solution.Despite such comic moments, which Oldman attacks with gusto, the film's mood is urgent and dire.Oldman has set the bar higher still.
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