12/17/14 4:47pm
12/17/2014 4:47 PM |
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Mr. Turner
Directed by Mike Leigh
Opens December 19

Mike Leigh’s film about JMW Turner would be just as magnificent were it not about an artist but simply a man of his time (and not just ahead of it). Which is another way of saying that Timothy Spall’s performance as the self-assured, brusque, deeply Romantic painter creates such a complete personality and physical presence that the notion that he is historically a Great Man is very nearly less impressive than the seamless character artistry transpiring before our eyes. Spall finds the laboriously gallant delivery, the lung-ravaging horks, the weak-chin pursing and walking-stick brandishing, the swagger and the tearful jags, the preternatual clarity of intelligence that defines an artist of truly far-reaching vision.