The Film Portraits Painter J. M. W. Turner But It Seems Like Mike Leigh Could Make It More Powerful & Short. In Most Scenes, Roger Ashton Griffiths (Mr.Turner); Snorted Like An Angry Pig, I Don't Know If Painter Turner Ever Did It In His Lifetime. Overall It's A Good & Worthy Biopic On J. M. W. Turner & While Watching It, You Can Get A Chance To Notice Many Landscape Paintings During Romanticism Movement In Europe.
A different sort of biopic, and a historical film that doesn't rely on its costumes (leaving aside its silly royal cameo). Timothy Spall, applying a fierce Cockney growl, is excellent in a complex, nuanced depiction of the famously eccentric, sometimes unpleasant, artist, but the film's greatest achievement is in aligning its cinematography to Turner's Romantic visions, especially the scenes on the English coast.
The Artist as an Old Man - a grumpy gentleman he is, yet open for love and feelings when they’re coming from a direction he accepts. Leight concentrates on the last years of Turner and lets the past speak through the present. It works very well because he has no need to squeeze the whole life into 2,5 hours. Like in most such movies, the weight lies on the shoulder of the main actor, and Spall is superb, as always.
The locations are stunningly wrought and utterly believable (not something I usually find with period pieces outside of Herzog) but I found the brilliant Timothy Spall really off-putting... In fairness, Turner may well have been an off-putting man, especially if he did harass and assault his housekeeper as here, but I don't feel passionate enough about his art to be interested in such a grunting fellow!
Not really Mike Leigh's forte but as a conventional biopic that bombards the viewer with landscape shots that imitate the paintings, it is finely acted (Timothy Spall is as always up to the task) and has a convincingly authentic sense for Turner's era, historical and social. These virtues though cannot but make one wonder about what a film on Turner one would have hoped to see from an auteur like Watkins or Pialat...
Leigh gives us a portrait of Turner in miniature. A series of scenes, vignettes, fractured & fragmented; presented without context. These small close-up details of a life eventually collate; they create a broader picture when seen in totality. It works, at least intellectually; but the film doesn't live! Spall's grunting, snorting caricature of Turner is impenetrable; a blank canvas. More a sketch than a masterpiece.