Dullest Hour more like.
It was all I could do to stay awake in this admittedly luscious, extremely well acted production.
But usually the Ring Cycle is also both of those things. It doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable though.
Honestly, it goes on and on and on with little or no light and shade (other than in the sumptuous lighting of almost every shot – Joe Wright sure can create a filmic canvas, but once you’ve seen 100 Caravaggios you’ve seen a thousand, and there’s a thousand on show here.)
Now, let’s consider Oldman’s performance. It’s highly celebrated and he is hot favourite for all the acting gongs this season. But it’s an impersonation (and one that’s been done well on more than one occasion before).
Compared to Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out it is far less engaging in my opinion. His fear and horror is palpable.
Oldman does capture more than a cliched portrait of Churchill and shows sensitivity and wit, but he’s encumbered by too much screen time, monotonous styling and a sense of ‘wait for it, the big quote is heading this way in 30 seconds,’ time and again.
King George and Viscount Halifax both have to deal with speech defects that may well be historically accurate, but do nothing for either of their gravitas.
In a massively male movie (which is fair enough) Lily James as Churchill’s secretary adds light relief, but Kristen Scott Thomas throws shards of light. If only she had more screen time.
Christopher Nolan’s magnificent Dunkirk makes a far more interesting exposition of the happenings in the French port in May/June 1940. By contrast, this is just rather self indulgent, with little in the way of either entertainment or historical insight.