Gary Oldman Becomes An Old Man

Remember back to 2001 and the terrible sequel (with the impressive cast and crew) known as Hannibal. What a terrible film that is. It is overlong, and incredibly uninteresting, particularly in comparison to the other films and television in the Hannibal Lecter (or Lecktor) series (obviously excluding Hannibal Rising). There is one redeeming quality for Hannibal though, and that is Gary Oldman going full chameleon to play Hannibal Lecter’s only victim to survive, Mason Verger. In case you have forgotten, here is what Oldman looked like in that film. Well, it seems like Oldman is in the mood to be fully lost in a character again, as he’s going full Churchill in Joe Wright’s new film Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour is a flick about Churchill becoming prime minister, and then immediately having to deal with some guy name Hitler and some war known as World War 2. Certainly, this was a fascinating time in our history, and a time that greatly shaped our world as it is today. So, of course we need to make a sub-par biopic about all the behind the scenes goings on of that period in time. Look, I think Joe Wright is a strong director. Atonement is heavy (leaning towards pretentious) drama, but it’s a good film. Hanna is a killer flick, that is good enough to have me always interested in a new Joe Wright film. And, Anna Karenina is a very interesting adaptation, and while its concept of being on a stage could have been brutal, it actually makes the film very memorable*. So, it is with some surprise that we see Wright doing a film that would fit more into Tom Hooper’s wheelhouse (thought it would have a thousand times more close-ups).

So, the trailer for Darkest Hour could just be uninteresting, because it is attempting to sell Darkest Hour to the blue haired audiences that comes out to these sort of historical films, and in actually it is a historical film game changer, but let’s be honest, it is unlikely. This trailer just reeks of appealing to the broadest audience possible, and it truly is a trailer that we’ve seen many times before.

I’m right now looking at Focus Features most recent releases, and they certainly have had some stinkers, and stinker trailers as of late. The stand-outs from their recent releases are The Beguiled and Loving, but even those films had garbage trailers. The Beguiled was sold as a tense thriller, when it is really more of a mood piece akin to Picnic at Hanging Rock (and also a masterwork by Sofia Coppola). Focus Features other releases or upcoming releases are flicks like The Book of Henry and Victoria & Abdul and those films both have very poor trailers. I’ll give Focus Features credit for the trailer for the upcoming Atomic Blonde, but let’s be honest, that trailer basically just screams “this is a female John Wick“.

To get back on track, the trailer for Darkest Hour is just so vanilla that it makes me crave ice cream. Aside from the transformation that Oldman has undergone (which most certainly will be the film’s biggest selling point), there is nothing advertised in the film’s trailer that is of any interest to me. It would be cool if the film was blow your socks off impressive, but everything about the film, as advertised by its trailer, suggests that it isn’t even a film worth seeking out when it is released on November 22nd stateside (apparently it is not being released until January 2018 in the UK, which is strange for the obvious reason that its their story).

*I know Wright is certainly classifiable as a jobber, and I do consider him a jobber, he’s just a top tier jobber for me.


“Look into the eyes of a FilmApe and you will see real stupidity. It is a kind of bottomless stupidity, a fiendish stupidity. They are the most horrifying, cannibalistic and nightmarish creatures in the world.” - Werner Herzog

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