Both a trailer for and two clips from Mike Leigh‘s Mr. Turner were made available prior to the film’s May debut, but its pending stateside release means that, yes, we have a new preview to pore over. One of our favorite films at Cannes, we compared it to Barry Lyndon for its “aesthetic goals, though mostly through its ability to elide any confirmed meaning.” This would surprise almost anyone who watches the trailer, which sells a far more conventional film: the quiet, surly genius who many doubted and few understood as a real, breathing human being.
But when it’s Leigh directing Timothy Spall, why worry? If only the displayed images were rather stunning in reproduction of era and pure physical weight — notice the depth with regard to that red smudge on his painting — yours truly would be willing to go along for the ride. How fortunate that early word is strong enough to signal one of 2014’s best films, one supposedly full of a wit and minute complexity befitting its subject.
Watch it below:
MR. TURNER explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father and loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.
Mr. Turner will begin its U.S. release on December 19.
What do you think of this first domestic trailer? Are you a fan of Leigh’s oeuvre?
Latest posts from The Film Stage