Mr Turner Review *****

Great Film. Was like watching a painting.  A film that was like a painting.

Mr Turner is ugly. His servant is ugly – she is cross-eyed and suffers from extreme dermatitis from mixing his paints – we think. She is in love with him. He barely acknowledges her. She keeps his house in order, and ensures that his paint is always available. He uses her for sex. Turner’s mother was a lunatic. He is a workaholic and very prolific.

He communes with nature, with light and with God – his last line of the film is “The sun is God” He engages with the arts society, the society of artists, royalty, critics and private investors.

There is space and time in this film. Something there is not much of in this world, connected as we are by our umbilical cords to our 24/7 technology. This space and time reminded me of the film “Lantana” – (Andrew Bovell, 2001) The music was haunting. Wind instruments – namely clarients, oboes, cor-anglais and a string quartet. It was sparse and subliminal like Turner’s landscapes. (Composer Gary Yershon.)

The film hinted, only hinted at many things off-screen, before, during and after the events shown on-screen. Much more than just a simple bio-pic, this film left me trying to work out a jigsaw puzzle, or to solve a riddle to which there could never be any solution; a lot like life itself.

All of this was set in a brilliant and beautifully designed England (Suzie Davies) straddling the changes of industrialisation. Stunningly photographed (Dick Pope), costumed, and designed. Acted superbly by a wonderful ensemble cast, not only by the outstanding Timothy Spall as Mr Turner. I haven’t enjoyed a film this much in ages. Left a lasting impression on me, like Ang Lee films do – the last one I remember was “The Life Of Pi”, but similarly “Brokeback Mountain”, “Taking Woodstock”, and his earlier works.

Thankyou to director Mike Leigh and your collaborators for a thoroughly engaging and memorable work. At least 9 out of 10 from me.

John Bellamy 20/1/2015

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