Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mr. Turner, bio pic

This biography of the last decades or two of J.W. Turner's life was a difficult movie to watch.  Directed to Mike Leigh (his only historical film, I think) he apparently had to appeal to a wide variety of funding sources that included English, American, French and German. Sets, costumes, speech rhythms and language/accents were convincing whether or not accurate.  (I have no way to judge,) I needed subtitles because I didn't understand many conversations. Turner was not a likeable man, he was entirely self-absorbed, cold to everyone except a widowed inn keeper toward the end. We saw his fascination with light and the sea/sky scapes -- and the one scene  in the film I really liked: when he watched a small train spewing clouds of smoke and then painted the clouds. If this was the London Dickens was writing about, I was ready to believe it. Timothy Spall, who played Turner had some horrible things done to his face, mainly enormous jowls giving Turner a porcine look that was stressed by the grunts, growls, and various nasal and chesty sounds he made.  Spall received a best actor award at Cannes and it was surely deserved. He created a consistently single minded painter who, other than painting and a little bit of feeling for music was an island unto himself with no welcoming inlets or coves.

1 comment:

Bev Sykes said...

Leigh directed "topsy turvy," the story of the writing of "The Mikado." (I got to interview him after a screening...fascinating, but not very likable man!)