Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Mr Turner (2014)

mr turner

Mr Turner – Film Review

Cast:  Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Marion Bailey, Dorothy Atkinson, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson

Director:  Mike Leigh

Synopsis: An account of the life of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, detailing his final years.

Review: The fine stroke of the paintbrush of a distinguished artist is comparable in some way to the art of making a film. Each shot feels like it needs precision and accuracy to acheieve the perfect moment. Yet like an artist at work, the shots in a film can fall flat, they can feel disjointed, and they can bore certain people. With this biopic of the artist J.M.W. Turner, it feels like a piece of artwork on a canvas being set up ready for viewing, only to see someone come along and ruin it.

The film focus on the final twenty five years of the artist’s life. Timothy Spall certainly brings him to life in a charismatic way, albeit with a considerable amount of grunting. Leigh does an incredible job in which we see scenes of Turner at work. There can be a certain amount of awe as he effortlessly creates a piece of art, sometimes even using his own spit to create an effect. Or in some cases, being tied to a ship to create the perfect piece.  Spall certainly humanises the artist as becomes increasingly eccentric in his later years, and is the stand out performer. Being the titular character, you would expect him to be the most developed and he is, by a considerable distance. The rest of the cast don’t quite match the very high standard that Spall set,  with many actors feeling a bit over the top in their performances.  Furthermore, there are some characters, such as Turner’s first mistress who are left severely under-developed. In spite of this, the film boasts top direction and cinematography.

Yet, the plot feels a bit disjointed. One scene he’s in Margate and another scene he’s back in his home. There are random moments in which he and his housekeeper get intimate, and you’re never really sure what’s going on or why it is happening. With the plot feeling a bit all over the place, there is much to be desired and it feels tedious at times to sit through. In addition with a run time of two and a half hours, you cannot help but feel some parts of the film could have been cut out. Like an artist finishing off a masterpiece there is almost a sense of relief when the credits start to roll. The biopic was presented as a view of the life of a great 19th century artist, and on paper it appears to represent the work of such an artist like turner. Yet at times it feels like a botched attempt to recreate a famous 19th century masterpiece, just ask Elias Garcia Martinez, the woman who brutally failed to restore a famous piece of 19th century art. Leigh’s story is by no means on that scale of horrendous, yet there is not a lot here that is worthy to be put on display.

With a charismatic leading performance by Timothy Spall, the brush strokes of the movie were set for an interesting biopic. However, the framed final piece falls flat with a disjointed somewhat dull plot and underdeveloped characters 


Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Gone Girl (2014)

gone girl
Image is property of 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment and Regency Enterprises

Gone Girl – Film Review 

Cast:  Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Emily Ratajkowski, Kim Dickens, , Patrick Fugit, Tyler Perry.

Director: David Fincher

Synopsis: When Amy Dunne (Pike) disappears in mysterious circumstances, her husband Nick (Affleck) becomes the centre of the police inquiry into his wife’s disappearance whilst also being the focal point of an intense media glare as it is suspected that he may not be as innocent as he appears

Review: For anyone watching this movie, either in a marriage or preparing to enter one, this film could give them an anxiety attack. Marriage used to be seen as the ultimate form of commitment to your significant other, but on the basis of this film, one could be forgiven for having second thoughts. The film pulls you in and offers a deep, complex look at what marriage is and what it can do to people, under certain circumstances. In that we get a stylish, dramatic story of a couple that pulls no punches and will keep you engaged. You do not know where the story will go next and it stays on point for almost the entire run time.

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, the story focus on Nick Dunne who comes home to find that his wife Amy has disappeared in unusual circumstances and the media frenzy that ensues when it starts to appear that Nick may have had something to do with it all. For the next two and a half hours, through flashbacks and present day perspectives, the pieces of the puzzle are steadily put together in order to find out what happened.  It is gripping to watch as obviously we see Nick’s life quickly descend into a living hell.  The viewer is taken along for a ride, you feel like you’re the onlooker as you watch it unfold. From his perspective to hers, there are twists and turns, shocks and moments that will leave you speechless.

Under Fincher’s expert and flawless direction, the acting on show is flawless. Affleck is a man who has come under intense media speculation and backlash due to his casting as Batman in the upcoming Batman V Superman flick. With this in mind, he does an incredible job as he tries to come to terms with all that is happening and the intense media frenzy that develops in the wake of his wife’s disappearance. Equally mesmerising is Rosamund Pike as Amy. Her scenes mostly come in the form of flashbacks but she delivers a fantastic performance that is at one moment incredible and in the next moment shocking and almost socio-path like. A stunning career highlight that should earn herself an Oscar nod when next year’s Oscars roll around.  The rest of the supporting cast were also absolutely on point with special mentions going to Tyler Perry giving a strong performance as Nick’s lawyer. In addition Neil Patrick Harris also delivers a wounded yet creepy performance playing the very creepy ex-boyfriend of Amy’s.

Fincher is one of the best directors working today, and every shot of this film feels meticulously crafted in its execution. One of the producers said that the director took as many as fifty takes per scene. The dedication that the director put in shines through in almost every frame. The script is astounding and the story keeps you engaged throughout its two and a half hour run time. As well as a potential Oscar nomination for Rosamund Pike, nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Direction are definitely possible. The film does not shy away from that dark and controversial material, it throws it in your face and when the credits roll, it will leave you reeling and should you be single, you may be thankful you are.

Thought-provoking, twisted and daring,  Gone Girl is a suspenseful, on the edge of your seat thrill ride that does not hold back. With Fincher’s flawless direction and outstanding acting, this is a film not to be missed and one of the best of the year.