One of the film’s that have been on my radar for Oscar this coming season is Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner starring the always dependable and terrific Timothy Spall. The film has finally been unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival where its receiving outstanding reviews. Also starring Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen, the film is being tauted by some as Leigh’s finest outing as a writer/director.
Premiering simultaneously is the full trailer and new images from the film, which you can see below, along with two clips (Thanks Rope of Silicon).
According to some of these initial reports, we may have a full-fledged Oscar contender on our hands.
Guy Lodge of HitFix says this about its star Timothy Spall:
As played by Timothy Spall — an erstwhile mainstay in Leigh’s company now collaborating with the director for the first time in 12 years — Turner could hardly be a more abstruse, less lovable figure. His weatherbeaten face fixed in a pout of sturgeon-like severity, Spall delivers his spare dialogue in a guttural, rumbling register that practically requires subtitles, whittling entire sentences’ worth of information down to a single, pointed grunt. He weeps like a sea lion and shags like a rutting rhinoceros; when he coughs, which is often, his phlegm lands practically wet on the screen.
Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter says:
“The real trouble,” biographer A. J. Finberg once wrote in private about his subject, the painterJ.M.W. Turner, “is that the only interesting thing about him is that he was the man who painted Turner’s pictures … [He] is only the unimportant nexus that binds the work together.” It’s as if those words were a gauntlet thrown down to director Mike Leigh, who with Mr. Turner has managed to conjure largely uneventful, if scrupulously well-researched, data into a luminous and moving film about one of Britain’s greatest artists. Anchored by a masterful performance by Timothy Spall in a role he was born to play, and gilded by career-best effort from DoP Dick Pope, working for the first time on digital for Leigh to bridge the gap between the painting and cinematography, Mr. Turnermanages to illuminate that nexus between biography and art with elegant understatement.
Scott Foundas of Variety couldn’t find enough great things to say:
English painting’s renowned master of light, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), gets a suitably illuminating screen biography in Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner,” an ecstatically beautiful and exquisitely detailed portrait of the artist as a cantankerous middle-aged man whose brilliance with the brush overshadows his sometimes appalling lack of social graces. Returning to the large-canvas period filmmaking of his 1999 Gilbert & Sullivan bio “Topsy-Turvy,” Leigh has made another highly personal study of art, commerce and the glacial progress of establishment tastes, built around a lead performance from longtime Leigh collaborator Timothy Spall that’s as majestic as one of Turner’s own swirling sunsets. A natural awards contender across multiple categories, the pic rolls out Dec. 19 Stateside via Sony Classics following a bevy of further fest appearances.
Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian is head over heels for the film:
What a glorious film this is, richly and immediately enjoyable, hitting its satisfying stride straight away. It’s funny and visually immaculate; it combines domestic intimacy with an epic sweep and has a lyrical, mysterious quality that perfumes every scene, whether tragic or comic.
Here are some Tweets following the screening:
Not officially reviewing, but do want to say I found Mike Leigh's MR. TURNER superb. (1 of 2) #Cannes2014
— Keith Uhlich (@keithuhlich) May 15, 2014
"Mr. Turner," Mike Leigh passion project on the great artist, years in the making and worth the wait. #Cannes2014 has its first triumph.
— Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) May 15, 2014
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 15, 2014
New Mike Leigh, Mr Turner, feels like a departure for Leigh… a film more about light than acting, even with Spall winning the day #Cannes
— David Poland (@DavidPoland) May 15, 2014
MR TURNER: Mike Leigh does Raul Ruiz by way of, uh, Mike Leigh. His most personal, and maybe richest film, though drags near the end #cannes
— olilyttelton (@olilyttelton) May 15, 2014
I adored Mike Leigh's Mr Turner: http://t.co/Wne3lXdyrw
— Dave Calhoun (@davecalhoun) May 15, 2014