Posts Tagged ‘Kristin Scott Thomas’

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

“DARKEST HOUR”  My rating: B (Opens wide on Dec. 22)

A confession.

I’ve often found Gary Oldman  a shameless scenery chewer. Villainous roles were especially problematic; you could actually see Oldman twirling his mustache, metaphorically speaking.

2011’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” gave us a more settled, thoughtful Goldman, who portrayed John LeCarre’s good gray spookmaster George Smiley with an admirable degree of restraint.

Now, in  “Darkest Hour,” Goldman tackles the iconic role of Winston Churchill, and it’s a match made in heaven.  Sir Winston was, after all, no slouch at scenery chewing; yet Oldman’s performance here is subtle and balanced, a deft blend of  bombast and inner activity.

It’s a performance of such insight and power — abetted by David Malinowski’s spectacularly effective makeup design — that it immediately propels Goldman into the front ranks of this year’s Oscar contenders.

Joe Wright’s film centers on one month, May of 1940, when the long-out-of-favor Churchill was elected Prime Minister after the collapse of Neville Chamberlain’s ineffectual government.

The P.M. is faced with seemingly insurmountable problems. The Nazis have taken over much of Europe and are pounding the British army at Dunkirk. If those 300,000 or so soldiers are captured or killed, it will leave Great Britain defenseless.

Voices within his own party are urging Churchill to sue Hitler for peace. It’s the only way to escape a bloodbath and an armed invasion.

Churchill doubts that Der Fuhrer is in any mood to grant concessions. If only he can save the troops waiting on the French coast, galvanize public opinion, and overnight turn his country’s prevailing ethos from dovish to hawkish. (more…)


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“LOVE CRIME” My rating: C+ (Opening Oct. 28 at the Tivoli)

104 minutes | no MPAA rating

They’re speaking French in “Love Crime,” but in just about every other respect this a decidedly non-Gallic movie, a formulaic “thriller” that has Hollywood’s thick fingerprints smudged all over it.

At least this effort — the final film from the late director Alain Corneau (“All the Mornings of the World”) — can boast of bilingual thesp Kristin Scot Thomas in wicked witch mode. That, at least, is something to see.

Scott Thomas plays Christine, a vice president at a French multinational company. She’s suave, well-heeled, charming (when it’s called for) and utterly ruthless.

Always at her elbow is the prim, proper Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier), who seems not to have much personality of her own. Utterly capable and equally nonglamorous, Isabelle appears to live vicariously through her older boss, happily diving into whatever chore needs doing and observing –with just a hint of yearning — as Christine beds their associate Philippe (Patrick Mille).


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