Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)
The elaborate sets and detailed production design are on full display in “Mr. Turner”. One set in particular that comes to mind is Turner’s workspace in his father’s mansion. Tables covered with paint and cups holding brushes, an easel standing next to a giant open window, and actual paintings lining the walls, this imagery is so vivid and evocative of the time period, you cannot help but feel you have stepped into that era. As mentioned with cinematography, these elaborate sets are fully explored with the camera, just as a passerby would explore the detail of a painting. Another set that comes to mind is the showcase of artwork at the Royal Academy of Art where paintings cover the giant walls from floor to ceiling, with many of the artists finishing their works, whether they be conveniently close to the ground or whether they are almost as high as the ceiling. The visual of Turner walking into this room for the first time is one of the best images of the film. Even the other mansions that Turner visits are elaborate, with the hanging of paintings being a central idea throughout the entire film, with every location covered in the modern and classic art of the time.
What’s its competition? The one to beat in this category is “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” with it living and breathing production design. But “Mr. Turner” does not fall too far behind. Many predict it will be bested by “Interstellar” and “Into The Woods” as well, however. But for some reason they place “Mr. Turner” above “The Imitation Game,” which is strange to me considering one of the biggest set pieces in the film, is not only intricately designed but a central focal point to the film as a whole, i.e. Turing’s first computer. That being said, “Mr. Turner” may fall to the throws of being a little average when it comes to period pieces and production design. Despite going above and beyond, the production design as a whole is quite forgettable where as a film like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” shouts out in a memorable, award-worthy way.
// Produced by Georgina Lowe // Directed by Mike Leigh //
// Dated Viewed: Saturday, January 31st, 2015 // Laemmle Playhouse // 29 films – 23 days //