As an ongoing feature on this blog, I will be asking people to write guest entries for Movieblort. It is a great way to share the burden of keeping this up to date, and to receive reviews from people who wouldn’t normally review but whose opinions on film I respect.
First up, a review of Mr. Turner from James. Follow him on Twitter @imdabestman.
If you fancy contributing, hit me up on twitter or leave a message in the comment section below.
An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life.
A lot has been made of Mr Turner’s ommision from the BAFTA nominations for Best Actor and Best British Film and rightly so.
This is the sort of picture that lingers on your mind, the character of Joseph Mallord William Turner is so beautifully and grotesquely fleshed out by Timothy Spall. Every minute of its 150-ish duration is there for a purpose, Spall builds Turner into a contradictory three-dimensional character and to a much more impressive degree than other nominees this year (sorry Eddie Redmayne). There is understandable contempt for his mistress, yet he is distant from his children, despite being close to his own Father, and a competitive nature fleshed out in a terrific art gallery scene.
Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall prepared and developed the character and film for more than a decade and that sort of dedication is there to be seen on-screen. The cinematography by Dick Pope (referred to Dick Poop in the Oscar Nods) was sublime, each shot of the landscape has clearly been modelled on Turner’s work and the enclosed indoor scenes are claustrophobic, but yet they feel familiar much like a living room, as is often the case with Mike Leigh’s work.
Mr. Turner feels exhausting over its running time but it is lifted by moments of humour and terrific supporting turns from all involved. However, the picture will not work for some people. The lack of a driven plot will aggravate some, but much like the critically acclaimed Boyhood, it is intriguing to watch an individuals life unfold in front of your eyes. Mr Turner differs in its decision to focus on one character, and in Boyhood where you watch Ellar Coltrane and his sister grow, in Mr Turner you experience the opposite as you watch him diminish and leave his legacy behind.