Those words are the key to Darkest Hour. Wow – Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill is superb. Neville Chamberlain does not have the support of Parliament. Viscount Halifax is still an up and comer. Who to tap for Prime Minister? Oh dear. Winston Churchill appears to be the man that can appease all sides. He drinks a lot, smokes those infernal cigars, he’s insufferable and goes through secretaries like crazy. King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) is not a fan. He’s a tad afraid of the man. Winston’s wife Clemmie (the incomparable Kristen Scott Thomas) asks him to try to be patient, but she’s pleased he’s finally getting the accolades he deserves.
It’s dire times for Western Europe. Hitler is swallowing up countries – Poland, Holland, Belgium, and now in France. The United Kingdom must declare war or negotiate peace. But is Mussolini of Italy the one to work with. Oh dear. Churchill has a quandary. He’s in the War Room, looking at the map with despair. Thousands of young man are on the beaches of Dunkirk – stuck as the Germans narrow the circle. Now what? Civilian boats set sail and it looks as if the plan will work. Winston seeks out his people, the citizens for an opinion – fight or flight? That’s where he sees and hears – Never Surrender.
His great speech to Parliament at the finale of the film is stirring. His words still ring out today. History was made.
Director Joe Wright captures the times. There are many nuanced touches and tough characters. He gives us a slice of history on the big screen and doesn’t waver in showing flaws and strengths. It’s a wow. I loved a line from the movie in regards to Winston – “He mobilized the English language and sent it off into battle.”