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Led by a masterful performance from Timothy Spall and brilliantly directed by Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner is a superior Hollywood biopic.
All Critics (188)
| Top Critics (43)
| Fresh (183)
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| DVD (1)
Mike Leigh's biopic is so richly detailed that it feels like a documentary. Spall goes for broke in the outsize title role.
At 150 minutes, it's a little too long but there are stretches during its course when it captivates and amazes.
You leave "Mr. Turner," as with all good fact-based films, wanting to know more about this man and his work - and remembering that beautiful, almost touchable light, on the canvas and on the screen.
For modern moviegoers, the earthy "Mr. Turner" may seem like slowly steeped tea with an unpleasant aftertaste. But while some are impatiently waiting for the paint to dry, astute viewers will see a cinematic landscape bloom.
If the past is a foreign country, then "Mr. Turner" is one of the most rhapsodic foreign films you may ever see.
Mr. Turner is no barrel of laughs. It's a barrel of life - an extraordinary one.
What a fine film it is: rich, enjoyable, imaginative, faithful to Turner's spirit.
It is such an extraordinary revelation, a breathtaking and acutely observed meditation on the intricacies of Victorian life, complete with a tour de force by Timothy Spall as the painter JMW Turner.
... it's the British director's best film in years.
All in all, the
150-minute Mr. Turner is an impressive accomplishment, laudable for the way it uses the figure of a single artist to explore both art and cinema.
Apart from the fantastic characterizations and top-notch cinematography, the real beauty of Turner's vision was his ability to find beauty in the seemingly ordinary.
The resulting portrait, with all its mystery and theater, is utterly fascinating and emotionally expansive, as only Mike Leigh films are.
Timothy Spall extraordinarily gives impressionistic life to one of Britain's best impressionistic painters. With only a few strokes one is given the idea of a soul (of whom, really, we all can only guess) who happened to create paintings that communicate how indescribable any given moment in life itself really is. Mike Leigh has taken this as a labor of love and the work is often punctuated with landscapes as evocative as those of Mr.Turner's creation. We are seldom far from his work. As well, all the women in his life are remarkably portrayed, with a depth greater than the artist and acheived with fewer lines.
An excruciating slog that seems made only to mock those who see art in something made by a monkey throwing feces at a blank canvas, since J. M. W. Turner is portrayed as a repulsive, vulgar and contemptible hog and played by Spall as a ridiculous growling caricature.
Beautiful looking deadly bore.
The portrait painted of the artist in "Mr. Turner" is as muddled and murky as his paintings were perceived to be by Victorian London. Despite exceptional costumes, sets and locations, despite very good acting, and despite a sublime soundtrack, "Mr. Turner" is a complete failure of storytelling. Turner's motives are never explained other than that he is a fading star whose avant-garde work is not appreciated (although that is not a clear motivation in his relationships since his mistreatment of women seems to far predate his fall from the artistic firmament). Is he a misogynist who rapes and abandons the women in his life and who has merely moved on to the next? Or does he love the women in his life but feels he must hurt and deceive them in order to protect them (...from WHAT?)? The unanswered questions are legion and should not be mistaken for subtle script writing where clues supporting either conclusion are placed throughout the film. There are no clues, and any conclusions drawn by the audience are necessarily based on pure speculation. "Mr. Turner" should have been a five-star film, but the lack of a discernible story leaves the film a mere period atmosphere piece with no compelling reason to see it.
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