Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mr. Turner Movie Review

Timothy Spall stars as Mr. Turner

Master of the Brush

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: This film explores the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric British painter J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.

"What's good enough for Turner is good enough for me." True that. Despite an inordinate amount of grunts and snorts, Timothy Spall enthralls as/in Mr. Turner, a beautifully shot movie that runs long (150 minutes) but still manages to pack a punch. Turner leads a double life, and comes across as dour, hypercritical (even of himself) and opinionated. Toss in "exceedingly preoccupied" for good measure; and you begin to scratch his surface. The final hour resonates of death; but Spall holds your attention to the very end. It's a gritty performance... one that transcends an otherwise ordinary movie.