Saturday, February 7, 2015

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "Mr. Turner" (2014)

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Movie"Mr. Turner"
Director: Mike Leigh
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

A look into the later years in the life of renowned British painter J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall).

"Mr. Turner" is nominated this year for numerous Academy Awards, mostly for visuals elements like cinematography and costumes. We will admit that the costume work is quite great and there are some truly beautiful shots of some gorgeous landscapes, which seems to be enough for critics to call this film a "masterpiece." For us, as pretty as the movie can be at times, we cannot, by our standards, call it a good film. This movie is unbelievably and inexplicably long, as well as unbearably boring. There is no real narrative to speak of and there is, really, a complete lack of character development for a film centered around one man's life. Half the time, we didn't know who the hell was who, and what the characters names were, or who had what significance to Mr. Turner! There is also no character arc with Turner himself other than a showcase of the last portion of his life and his infidelities and unpleasantries. Mr. Turner begins the film as an older, sour and peculiar man who is short with people, neglects his children and paints all the livelong day, and Mr. Turner ends the film in much the same way, except much more sick and with a different significant other. There is never a change in his art as it seems he almost exclusively did landscapes, never deviating from fields or boats and shipwrecks and seas, and if he did, you wouldn't know it from this film. Timothy Spall does an okay job in this movie, but really, it's not what we expected it to be with such high accolades and praise. Also, on a completely unrelated note, before watching this film, we previewed the score on YouTube out of curiosity, and it's much better out of context. Within the parameters of this film, the score doesn't fit the mood of the movie and is a bit jarring compared to what is taking place on screen, in our opinion.

Now, before we say our final thoughts on the movie, we must preface by saying that we're not the best, end all, be all of movie critics. No one reviewer is the best, which is the beauty of watching and critiquing movies. For us personally as moviegoers, we don't see any purpose or understand why this portion of his life needed to be showcased in a movie, especially a movie this long. How anyone thought this portion of someone's life would make a compelling film is beyond us. To our understanding, J.M.W. Turner was quite controversial in his day, but even from this film, you wouldn't really know it. Turner is already a well-established, fairly wealthy and successful painter at the time in his life when this movie is supposed to take place and he remains so until his eventual death. Really, this is less a film and more a series of scenes put together full of random characters from Turner's life. Most of the people are usually mumbling something about the weather, or slaves, or lying about their real name, or the children they have born and ignored, and other times, they are pontificating while mumbling about painting, gooseberries, rhubarb, and the weather. This is not an entertaining, moving or engaging film and we found ourselves growing restless every single time we did a time check. We need to be entertained to enjoy any movie, plain and simple. There are other, better biographies about painters and artists, so we know it can be done successfully, and while "Mr. Turner" has cool costumes and nice cinematography, these things do not fix a boring story that is not even compelling in the slightest.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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