movies: the red turtle

the red turtle
The Red Turtle is Studio Ghibli's first international co-production written and directed by Dutch-British animator Michaël Dudok de Wit... and as such it doesn't feel like a Ghibli movie. If anything the art style, especially of the humans, reminded me of Tintin.

The really unique thing about The Red Turtle is that it's completely wordless beyond a couple of yells here and there. There's no dialogue, just beautiful, beautiful imagery.

There's also not much of what you would call a story. Which isn't necessarily a negative, it's more that it's a very slow and lyrical movie with only really one action piece (and I don't want to say too much at the risk of spoiling it).

The story is about a man who is shipwrecked and washed up on a deserted island, who tries to escape and fails, but finds the titular red turtle. And that's when the story really begins.

After the movie had finished I was trying to work out exactly what type of story it is... the best I can come up with is that it's part fairy tale and part myth and part fable. It's not a children's movie though... not because of anything in it necessarily, but I think kids would be bored with it within about ten minutes.

It's not the most photo-real animation I've seen, but the whole thing has a beautiful stylised quality to it. It's also not a busy film... I noticed more than once that frames would be completely still except for one or two points of movement. And that actually works beautifully here.

The only real drawback to it from my perspective is that while I felt for the characters, the lack of dialogue (and by extension an explanation for some of the events) did mean that I was emotionally removed from them and so I didn't have that emotional reaction I may have otherwise had. That may also have been because a couple of the emotional "call-backs" I was waiting for in the movie never actually happened.

But that's a small thing, and more about me than the movie.

It is a beautiful, quiet, lyrical movie though, and definitely one to be experienced.

yani's rating: 4 ghost crabs out of 5

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