Cynicism wins out. This had really great moments, the deer scene maybe being the best, where it rides the lines between the more typical cynical view that “serious” films represent lately and more nuanced characterization. The guy is honestly interesting, but they throw that all away with a lame ending that becomes lopsided. He doesn’t seem to know how to end movies, the problem isn’t the exact same, but All is Lost seemed to also take a boring way out after building up something interesting.
Man did the trailer make this seem like a totally different film. Instead of it being some blunt film about Turner challenging the art world you get a fragile portrait of what feels like a real human and artist. The imagery is excellent. The only thing holding it back for me is that it sometimes slips so far into opaqueness that I can’t get a good grasp on Turner. When so much of the characterization in the film is being built by his responses to the things around him, not always being clear what those responses are can be frustratingly distancing.
While the images are always what I am drawn towards, and there are many great ones here, the audio is especially interesting. It really pulls together the stream on conscious style here, not only as overarching glue, but by continuing patterns of juxtaposition that are found in the images but are not directly linked.
Out of the 3 films I was most excited for this. Sadly it really doesn’t fulfill its promise. You start to wonder who it was that directed the talking heads in the last two, because if there is a main problem here it is that I don’t feel like we really get inside any of these guys. They open up at times, but it always still feels very guarded.