Mike Leigh’s latest film has been subject to much critical acclaim; however, Mr Turner may only be for those who wish to experience life where time seems to freeze. Depicting the last twenty five years of Turner’s life, Leigh’s biopic explores the unique painter’s story as he deals with his father’s demise and becomes acquainted with a landlady in the autumn of his days. Whilst the impressive visuals are pleasing to the eye, the overall pace and feel of the film may leave you waiting with gritted teeth for the first sign of the credits.
Leigh is renowned for hard hitting dramas such as Vera Drake, so those who have prior knowledge of his work will know what to expect and will benefit from their choice of film. The same can be said for the film’s content, which is submerged in fine art, but those who aren’t familiar with classical painting or Leigh’s previous work may struggle. There are some moments, such as an appearance from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, which compliment the film’s integrity, yet these are few and far between.
Although Mr Turner was monotonous throughout, Timothy Spall’s performance as J.M.W Turner is at least interesting to watch as he spews and growls his way across screen. Leigh’s intention is clearly not for us to emotionally connect with the characters, but to acquire an unbiased perspective of them as historical figures. It was also interesting to see a biopic that isn’t loosely based on a true story, in the hope of making a hit at the box office. To the spectator, it feels as though a great detail had gone into the film and whilst there is minimal assistance from music or sound effects, it can be said that Leigh manages to craft a genuine and original take of the biopic form.
Mr Turner can no doubt be classed as a film where mainly the informed audience will take something away. They are the ones who will remain enticed throughout, whereas other audience members will wake themselves up with their own snoring: this is one to steer away from if you aren’t accustomed to the film’s contextual knowledge. However, it cannot go unnoticed that this independent film manages to achieve a unique take on a biopic.
Images: Entertainment One