After all the anticipation, Mr Turner was a letdown:
A bravura performance by Timothy Spall this undoubtedly has, but as a film, Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner is a flawed masterpiece. As I see it there are two ways you can do biographical drama: identify a theme and use events of the subject’s life to illustrate that and tell a specific story (a la Milos Forman’s Amadeus), or simply retell the events of that life in succession. Leigh opts for the latter, and the result is like a diary flailing for a story, and missing out on the stuff we really care about when it comes to JMW Turner: the bloody art, like!
Over two-and-a-half hours depicting the boring minutiae of an odious arsehole’s comings and goings, we’re still left in mystery as to the inspiration behind his greatest works, let alone the secret to his appreciation as a wunderkind of British art. There isn’t even much of an effort to try, Leigh’s lens far more comfortable to rest on the homely, Hobbiton-like safeness of a simply appointed quayside terrace than the majesty of the ocean or the magic cast by sunlight that informed his most arresting paintings.
John Wick is a very different kind of movie, but fared far better in my estimation:
Keanu Reeves as a retired hitman just destroying people left, right and centre? Yup, I’m sold.
Currently in cinemas here but streaming on Netflix US is Force Majeure:
A ‘controlled’ avalanche at an Alpine ski resort is the catalyst for the airing of unspoken marital grievances in this blackly comic Swedish drama, of which the moral of the story appears to be that anyone, even the most morally upright, can act like an arsehole under stress. The key is not to be a dick about it afterwards.
Another Netflix watch was Kickstarter-funded horror Starry Eyes:
Here’s a gruesome little shocker, a Faustian-pact occult chiller that turns a nasty corner in its final act. The debt to Ben Wheatley’s Kill List is a big one, but it pays off far better dividends as a dark satire of the ‘dream factory’ than David Cronenberg’s recent ghosts-of-Tinseltown fever dream Maps to the Stars.