I went along to the Watershed yesterday lunchtime to see their first showing of Mike Leigh’s film “Mr Turner”, starring Timothy Spall in the title role (I managed to avoid queuing for the special Halloween showing of “ET” just along the corridor!!).Joseph Mallard William Turner is certainly one of my favourite artists and so I went along with high expectations. But, I have to say, I actually found it all a little disappointing - unremarkable even. Yes, the acting was excellent, the cinematography was beautiful, the pace and the direction were perfect and the film was enjoyable, but that’s about all. Timothy Spall is always good value but, actually, his portrayal of JMW Turner was exactly as I’d imagined it would be (ok, so this means they judged the casting to perfection – but, if I told you he was playing an ageing Turner, you’d probably be able to conjure up the same image too… a rather rougher version of Lord Emsworth in “Blandings” combined with a bit of his Winston Churchill in "The King's Speech" for example?). Yes, I appreciate that he won the “Best Actor” award at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in this film, but I thought it was all just a little predictable. As far as the scenes showing him painting and sketching, I found them totally unconvincing.
However, I’ve just read a couple of reviews of the film and, once again, I’m out on a limb (so what’s new?)… Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian) and Robbie Collin (The Telegraph) have both given the film a five star rating… I would have only given it a three, or a four at best!
Oh dear… but, what do I know!?