British director Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour is an artful and intense treatment of Winston Churchill’s first days as England’s prime minister, as Nazi troops storm through Europe, pushing British fighters to the beaches of Dunkirk. Gary Oldman’s robust portrayal of the maligned Churchill, caught on the horns of a dilemma, is a marvel and fills nearly every frame of this elegantly composed and beautifully written film. A scene that depicts a supremely conflicted Churchill interviewing citizens in a London subway car is a distillation of the man’s indomitable spirit and, as we discover, that of the English people. It’s a stirring, thrilling moment in a movie that packs enormous dramatic power. P.S. Kristin Scott Thomas's performance as Churchill's wife, Clemmie, provides a nicely tempered theatricality to a film that does not lack for big, blustering exchanges between scowling, jowly men.