I got back from watching Darkest Hour a while ago. I have... mixed thoughts on it.
- Gary Oldman is the perfect casting for Churchill: He seemed to understand the role to its absolute core, and he really brought Churchill to life in a convincing way.
- It tries a lot with its visuals, and its got good directional ideas: There were loads of interesting ways of presenting scenes throughout, and it was fun to spot the different ways that they were able to bring out the most meaning from each shot.
- It did a great job of illustrating just how pivotal Churchill was to the outcome of the war: While there wasn't really much I learned about him that I didn't already know, it does say a lot about just why he was the type of person the country needed to run it at a time of crisis and does a lot of foreshadowing and hinting towards how the course of history would've been totally different without him.
- It succeeds at telling a complete story: I know this is a very simple thing, but it's something that plenty of Oscar-bait biopics kinda flip-flop around, so it's nice see one that actually does succeed at it.
- It's dull as shit: As much as Churchill is a plenty interesting character with a very interesting story to be told about him, the film simply failed to make the most of this potential for a genuinely great film just due to fundamental failures with regards to the way it was laid out.
- It assumes prior reading for a lot of things to make sense: I think the assumption that a person knows about what kind of person he was before the war ends up backfiring a bit, as we as viewers are only briefly introduced into a tiny handful of things from his past that caused all the doubt from his colleagues within the space of 1 sentence at the very start of the film, which leaves it feeling muddled and means that the film doesn't really succeed properly as a biopic.
- Visual presentation was muddled and inconsistent: As much as it tries a lot and is able to add a lot of meaning to a lot of scenes through good storyboarding, it backfires more often than not and just results in the film feeling like more of a scrapbook of "cool directorial ideas" rather than it does a coherent visual presentation.
- Every character other than Churchill: The entire remainder of this film's cast was unconvincingly acted–especially Neville Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax.
- Other presentational issues: There were a lot of issues with the way certain aspects (from the society at the time to the way information was presented) were presented
- Presentation of information and other character building felt half-assed and poorly managed; it created the illusion of filler when there wasn't any by introducing a lot of things in an extremely vague manner and then re-presenting them all in greater detail in a single scene later on, serving to disrupt the flow and highlighting the film's poor scripting.
- You didn't have the entire base of operations smoking as they worked, showing a that severe lack of effort has been put into matching the behaviour of the people to the types of behaviour that you would see in wider society at the time it was set.
- A black man played a major role in the scene on the underground without recieving any kind of discrimination what-so-ever from those around him, which both serves little purpose other than exclusivity pandering and once again shows a lack of effort being put into accurately recreating the way that society at the time would've functioned, granted this is an extremely minor complaint (and a substantially less egregious failure wrt period recreation) when compared to the "people not smoking at work" thing.
- It's very blatant Oscar bait: I don't need to explain this; it comes across very strongly when watching it and it's annoying.