Mike Leigh

An alternative look at Mr Turner – Self-congratulatory whilst saying nothing



Guest written by Dylan Edwards


I like some of Mike Leigh’s films a lot, and used to love him; he used to have things to say, and semi-interesting methods with which to say them. Didn’t he? The older I get – and, though I hate to say it, perhaps the older he gets, too – the more I begin to see him as perhaps the single least vital or urgent filmmaker of all of today’s ‘major’ world-stage players; a thinking-man’s cinema for the thinking-man totally uninterested in cinema itself, more in something familiar and unchallenging masquerading as cerebral and complex, two things which Mr Turner is emphatically not. Mr Turner is a profoundly superficial and simplistic film even judged by the biopic conventions and artless structure it rigidly prescribes to. (more…)


Mr. Turner – Spall Transforms Turner Into a Piece of Art Himself


Mike Leigh’s biopic Mr Turner is something of a gorgeous gargoyle. Much like Timothy Spall’s portrayal, the film dances between the binaries of a Dickensian period piece: sure there’s the sense of class and quaint Britishness we love in these types of films, but there’s also this breath of fresh air when all the warts of Turner and his time are exposed to see. I’ve seen similar British biographical films before, which, while enjoyable for the most part, all share a sense of idealising their figures. You can’t help but see them as a bit too picturesque to be all true. Leigh may also paint Turner’s life as beautifully as the artist’s own landscapes, but he isn’t afraid to show the blemishes in the portrait.