Written and directed by Englishman Mike Leigh, of Another Year and Vera Drake, Mr Turner is an almost overwhelmingly detailed biopic of famous 18th century English Romantic landscape painter (and serial grumbler) Joseph Mallord William Turner.
Played expertly by Timothy Spall (of Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films fame, among other British greats), Turner is a bumbling, mumbling, shuffling – yet somehow bold – physically unattractive, artistic prodigy. His works are masterful, and this opinion is clearly not one the director and cinematographer have shied away from (read: there’s plenty of footage of the artworks, though whether it’s imitation art or the genuine article is another matter).
Spanning 25 odd years, the film follows Turner’s professional life as it interweaves with his private life, incorporating the women who lived by and loved him, and the daughters which he refuses to acknowledge are his own, despite their pleas.
The elaborate set and costume designs, the equally intimate and majestic scenery, the almost-eery complementary score and the all-too-British variety of characters, with their varied accents and their outspoken opinions on the fine arts, make Mr Turner a near-two-hour, highly-stylised piece of art in itself.
Certainly worth seeing, especially for fans of the artist’s collection and the inspiration behind it.