Mr. Turner

★★★ ½

A Mike Leigh film is not always an easy thing, and this beautifully shot biopic of 19th century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is no exception. It took me about a third of the film to get used to the phlegmatic Cockney brogue actor Timothy Spall is spouting. You get no helpful time or place identifiers, even as the action shifts between multiple locations, which also leaves you disoriented if you haven’t done your research before going to the cinema. But beyond these challenges it is quite a beautiful film, with cinematography to rival Turner’s classic landscapes, and interesting thoughts on the nature of art, as Turner in later life starts experimenting with impressionism, only to have shade thrown in his direction by none other than that mother of all shade-throwers, Queen Victoria.

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