Wednesday, 10 January 2018

January 11
The Darkest Hour
The Post

After the emotion, spectacle and socio-political significance  of the Golden Globes, two strong films, both of which received many nominations, are released. 
The Darkest Hour 
Director: Joe Wright
Length: 125 min
© Universal - Gary Oldman has just won 
a Golden Globe for his magnificent performance
In 1940 Britain chose a new Prime Minister after losing faith in Neville Chamberlain, who wanted to make peace with Hitler. The new PM was the iconic Winston Churchill, played with gusto by Gary Oldman, who seems to have an Oscar firmly in his sights! I'd imagine the make-up department may also be nominated, given the incredible likeness they create between Oldman and Churchill. Apparently the prosthetics department took four hours each day to bring the slightly-built Oldman up to fighting weight. Unlike this year's earlier films Churchill and Dunkirk, this interpretation focuses firmly on the man, his indulgence in alcohol, his battles with parliament, and his own internal struggle to implement what he saw as best for his country, after only five weeks of Prime Ministership.  I really enjoyed this one, with its loving attention to the detail of the time, its moments of humour, and the fine support given by Kristin Scott Thomas as Winston's wife, not to mention Ben Mendelsohn, who is outstanding as King George.
4 - highly recommended!

The Post
Director: Steven Spielberg
Length: 115 min
© EOne - Streep blitzes again in a story
with resonance for today's world
In the early 1970s Americans were in uproar against the Vietnam War, while the government tried to cover up four decades of shady involvement. When the New York Times published leaked documents, President Nixon tried to shut down the paper's right to print. Rival newspaper the Washington Post also got hold of the documents and had to make a monumental decision whether to publish. This is the story of Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep), the first female newspaper publisher, who headed up the Post after her husband's death. In the face of controversy and male opposition, she summoned up the courage to make some monumental decisions, with the help of gutsy journalists Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk). The whole issue of government versus freedom of the press is more timely than ever, along with the upsurge of activism regarding women's equality in the workplace. This is a strong political thriller, which builds up the tension to breaking point towards its climax, and features fabulous performances by all the cast.
4 - highly recommended!

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