#LFF14 Review: Mr Turner

#LFF14 Review: Mr Turner

Mr Turner

Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville

Released nationwide on October 31

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Mike Leigh’s latest is a beautiful, if uneventful, portrait of one of Britain’s finest landscape painters, Joseph Mallord William Turner.

The first rule of making a film about a painter, presumably, is to make sure that the imagery on screen does justice to the subject. There are no worries on this front in Mr Turner, a gorgeously shot biopic of sorts which sees Timothy Spall at his very best as the growling, temperamental but ultimately endearing painter.

The stakes are low – Leigh avoids the temptation to build in any artificial plot devices, which makes Mr Turner feel like a faithful representation, if not an engrossing one. This is a film that feels its running time but, somehow, is never boring. The performances, particularly Spall’s, are top-notch, and you could pretty much take any still from the film, frame it, and exhibit a masterpiece of cinematography.

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I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.