DARK­EST HOUR

North & South - - Review -

DVD re­lease April 25: War drama ( M) New Ply­mouth’s An­thony Mc­carten, fa­mous for the Stephen Hawk­ing biopic The The­ory of Ev­ery­thing, wrote this nail-bit­ing ac­count of po­lit­i­cal brinkman­ship in the first weeks of Win­ston Churchill’s pre­mier­ship dur­ing World War II. Even though we know Churchill wins his po­lit­i­cal bat­tle to take on Hitler in earnest, it’s worth be­ing re­minded that ap­pease­ment was in the air even as Ger­man Panz­ers ground through French coun­try­side; Bri­tain’s en­try into the war, let alone vic­tory, was not as in­evitable as it seems to­day. In 1940, Eng­land faced an ap­palling threat. The film cap­tures an au­then­tic at­mos­phere of doom, while not al­ways stick­ing strictly to the facts. Noneth­less, in Gary Old­man’s Os­car­win­ning per­for­mance, Churchill is re­born, brood­ing and chomp­ing on his cigar as he bat­tles the man­darins of his own party to launch a wider war. Com­pelling.

JENNY NI­CHOLLS

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