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Darkest Hour review: Gary Oldman's Churchill will galvanise the nation

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Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour

Dir: Joe Wright; Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Ben Mendelsohn. PG cert, 125 mins.

Some casting choices just sell themselves, and Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill is one of them. Firstly because on paper, the star attraction in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour makes so much sense: who wouldn’t want to see the Nazis taken to task by George Smiley, Count Dracula and Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg?

And then in the flesh, it very tantalisingly doesn’t make sense, which makes it more appealing still. How on earth could Oldman, wily and canine, with a bent for sinew-stiffening rage, ever hope to convince as the stocky, stoical wartime PM? 

The full answer involves padding, wigs and facial prosthetics, which are every bit as impressive and invisible in Wright’s film as you have probably already read.

But it comes down first to the sheer electric...

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