The Red Turtle - This Semi-Ghibli Movie Rocks The Shell
Dir: Michael Dudok de Wit
Starring A Red Turtle
The always exquisite to look at Red Turtle crosses Robinson Crusoe with delicate fairy tale and throws in the best cinematic tsunami since The Impossible for good measure. It is beautiful, beguiling and altogether something rather special.
A co-production between Studio Ghibli and director de Wit, the dialogue-free movie focuses on a shipwrecked man alone on a desert island (if you don’t count a quartet of crabs for company), whose attempts at escape are thwarted by a seemingly malevolent red turtle. When the man kills the turtle in a brutal act of anger, it is reborn as a beautiful woman – a woman he is destined to spend the rest of his days with.
De Wit’s film gorgeously evokes the full world the man finds himself in, visually moving from the macro to the micro of his new environs, swirling into brilliantly realised dream sequences, finding character in detail, all the while managing to be sharply evocative of both where he is and who he is. It is a movie where a delicate gesture is shown to speak volumes, and, as its unexpected story develops, it becomes more and more heartrending and genuinely moving.
The Ethel and Ernest of Robinson Crusoe-fairy tale-tsunami movies then? Yes, and so much more. One of the loveliest films you’ll see this year. In every sense.
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