Movie Review: Animated Fable The Red Turtle Uses No Words, and No Words Do It Justice | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Movie Review: Animated Fable The Red Turtle Uses No Words, and No Words Do It Justice

Posted by on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 12:32 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STUDIO GHIBLI/SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
  • photo courtesy of Studio Ghibli/Sony Pictures Classics
The Red Turtle
★★★★½
Now playing


Dutch writer-director Michael Dudok de Wit’s first animated feature is quiet, mysterious, and breathtaking. It is almost entirely void of vocal language, other than the occasional emotive grunt. It complements silence with the audible twisting and turning of the tropics—leaves whistling in the wind, ocean waves washing onto the sand, unseen life bustling and breathing. The light bleeding off de Wit’s trademark watercolors render the island of The Red Turtle into some kind of spiritual being.

When a nameless middle-aged man finds himself stranded on an island after his ship is swallowed by a storm, he does what any marooned human would do: he survives. Stark loneliness births desperate exploration. Exploration breeds discovery and survival tactics. Tactics lead to attempted escape after attempted escape. But something is keeping the man on the island. He continually builds larger and stronger bamboo rafts, but he can never get very far away from shore before an unidentified water creature destroys the raft from underneath, leaving the man perplexed and enraged.


When he finally sights the creature, the man becomes murderous. He aligns the red turtle in his crosshairs. But, unbeknownst to the man, the arrival of the creature will end up defining the rest of his life. The mysterious red turtle starts him on a life-spanning journey of love and loss that enraptures the viewer’s mind and spirit. We, too, are held captive by the mystical manifestation of the turtle. It initially comes across as the island’s numinous muse, but later reveals greater depths in its supernatural development.

As the first non-Japanese film produced by Hayao Miyazaki’s famed Studio Ghibli, The Red Turtle reaffirms the company’s aesthetic in its first deviation from Japanese anime tradition. Though Ghibli fanatics might find it hard to believe, the studio itself reached out to de Wit, citing the magnificence of his Oscar-winning short film Father and Daughter (see below) as proof that his Japanese-inspired artistic direction was worthy of the studio’s investment. The film’s reveries, bathed in themes so thick and thorough they can only be felt, wowed Cannes audiences in 2016. Truly, no words do it justice.


Tags: , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

The Carolina, the Varsity, now the Chelsea. These movie houses were among the reasons we moved here 25 years ago. …

by JO in CHNC on The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

The Carolina, the Varsity, now the Chelsea. These movie houses were among the reasons we moved here 25 years ago. …

by JO in CHNC on The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year (Arts)

The Chelsea Theatre has to be saved! Chapel Hill and the Triangle would be greatly diminished without it. Other theatres, …

by Jonathan H on The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year (Arts)

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation