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‘Darkest Hour’ Critical Roundup: Reviewers Praise Gary Oldman, Who Could Be Winning an Oscar

Joe Wright's Winston Churchill biopic has been well received at Telluride.

“Darkest Hour”

Focus Features

Darkest Hour” premiered at Telluride yesterday, and the first round of reviews of Joe Wright’s Winston Churchill biopic are highly enthusiastic — especially when it comes to Gary Oldman’s lead performance. IndieWire’s Anne Thompson calls him “the one to beat for Best Actor,” while David Ehrlich says the film is “as rousing and ferocious as Winston Churchill was himself.” Here’s what others have to say.

Variety’s Peter Debruge singles out Wright for praise:

“Wright is both a virtuoso filmmaker and a natural showman, interpreting the screenplay as no other director could have possibly imagined it. Since his very first feature, 2005’s ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ he has been reinventing the rules of how period pieces ought to be shot, and ‘Darkest Hour’ is no different.”

Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter is less enthusiastic, but still positive:

“[Anthony] McCarten’s scene writing is tart and efficient and Wright infuses the drama with unquestioned energy. But this is a film in which every point and meaning is hit directly on the nose; understatement is nowhere to be found in a work that makes sure to stage at least one scene in which the prime minister is taking a dump and numerous others in which he rants and raves, sometimes while clearly drunk.”

Writing for the Playlist, Gregory Ellwood is all about Oldman:

“Few would argue that Oldman isn’t one of the finest actors of his generation, but this is a tour de force portrayal that will define his body of work for decades to come.”

Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, and Stephen Dillane co-star in the film, Wright’s follow-up to “Pan.” Focus Features will release “Darkest Hour” in theaters on November 22.

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