Nothing like Oscar season to catch up on some of the better titles of the year. This one has seemingly been floating under the radar a bit, until only recently, when it was nominated for several Oscars.
The story here, in question, is about Winston Churchill's (Gary Oldman) new appointment as Prime Minister of Britain, and his decision whether the country struck a deal with Hitler, or fight against all odds. The central focus is actually, once again, Dunkirk, and the effort to get the allied troops out of there.
Although this has six nominations under it's belt, no two awards stand out quite as much as Gary Oldman for Best Actor, and Best Hair/Makeup, which is admittedly a bit of a strange one for me to get excited about. The thing is, the two go hand in hand. The brilliantly done makeup is zoomed in on several times, and you'd swear you were looking at real skin. The makeup lends itself to Oldman's brilliant performance here as well. He's really quite convincing here when all is considered. When you look at his eyes, you see Oldman, but that's about the extent of what's recognizable... or perhaps the mouth? For me, it was the eyes, anyway.
It's also up for Best Picture, Cinematography, Production Design and Costume Design, all of which were very well done, but have slightly more serious contenders on the list. But don't get me wrong, this movie is pretty rock solid. The musical score keeps you well-engaged, along with a sense of humor that seems to come from Oldman's performance as a rather crotchety old man. His character here is as equally likable as he is unlikable, and it was very interesting to see how he may have been behind the scenes of everything that went on.
One could probably watch this and 'Dunkirk' back to back, and it would almost be like watching one long movie from two different perspectives. It was interesting to me that the two major war movies of the year contained the same subject matter. That's as in Dunkirk, not World War II.
Anyway, if nothing else, one should approach this wanting to see Oldman's performance, as it's one of the best of the year (if not the best). The overall story is really quite basic, which there's absolutely nothing wrong with, but it IS Gary Oldman who carries this movie on his shoulders. It may very well be his best performance to date.