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DVD Review: Timothy Spall Grunts His Way Through Mike Leigh's Flat MR. TURNER - Movies In Focus
Mike Leigh is a director who likes to do things his own way. He’s an outsider who refuses to play by the rules, picking and choosing film products based on his own sensibilities. A biopic of artist William Turner seemed like the perfect marriage between the director and material, but what we get from Leigh’s Mr.Turner is a wonderful looking film with a story which is as flat as one of Turner’s famed landscapes. Timothy Spall grunts his way through Mr Turner’s 2 1/2 hour running time, coming across more like a curmudgeonly commuter in need of a toilet than a fully realised human being. Spall won Best Actor at the Cannes Film festival for his performance, but it’s more caricature than a character, broad-strokes in a large ill-composed picture. Spall may be a good actor but this is not his best work. Leigh’s film feels choppy and ill composed on a narrative level. You could move a vast majority of the scenes around without having an impact on the story. This might be Leigh playing with the conventions of storytelling, but it makes for a film with very little narrative thrust. Turner may have been an artistic genius but [...]