Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolorist and printmaker; revolutionary in melding luscious chiaroscuro; miraculously blending the hues of dazzling day and nascent night; with German contemporary, Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) stun in glorifying nature’s tempestuous transcendence over man. Both men were monumentally inspirational and forerunners of impressionism; they awe to this day.
Director Mike Leigh, cinematographer Dick Pope and actor Timothy Spall as “Turner” paint a realistic portrait of an irascible, at times contemptuous, at all times uncompromising master of his electrifying genius; gorgeous, magnificently compelling to view “Mr. Turner” will appeal to art and movie lovers alike.
The cast (all secondary to Mr. Spall) were exceptional: “Hannah”, Turner’s dedicated, psoriatic housekeeper is poignantly depicted by Dorothy Atkinson; “Mrs. Booth” Turner’s final mistress is effervescently acted by Marion Bailey; by far the most intriguing, though minimal role, was Joshua McGuire as the art critic “John Ruskin”; his effete, obsequious, pedantic, perceptive soliloquies in praise of Turner’s mastery, suffer no debate or interruption.
“Mr. Turner” belongs to Timothy Spall; he devoutly inhabits the psyche, habits, skills, obstreperous behavior of a man comfortable in his own skin. It is a performance of a lifetime, woefully spoiled by his perpetual, overbearing, irritating grunting and growling.
In the words of John Ruskin, William Turner “stirringly, truthfully lifted the veil from the face of nature.” Marvelously true!
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!