Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Red Turtle

On Friday I saw the animated film The Red Turtle, directed by Michael Dudok de Wit.

We don't see how our hero sets out on his oceanic journey; when we meet him, he's in the eye of a terrible storm getting tossed about the sea. He lands on a deserted island and soon adapts to a solitary lifestyle.

He eats coconuts and attempts to craft a raft to freedom as a colony of hermit crabs follow his every move. As he's making his way, a red turtle appears—potentially endangering his plans. What follows would be a major spoiler, so I will just say that the turtle has a spiritual and eventually physical symbolism in the story.

Without dialog, the story has to be told through the music and the emotive elements of the visual animation, which make this movie stunning. The drawings are simple, but powerful; the colors a blend of the most delicious sensory combinations that make up our wildest dreams.

Though the pace is undeniably slow (maybe too slow for small children), if you sit back and take in the vast landscape of the presentation, you'll feel as if you've escaped into a live painting.

I've made no secret of the fact that animation is among my least favorite genres, but if more films were on the same artistic and emotional level as this one, I may have a change of heart.

The Red Turtle is being showered with accolades and awards, and it deserves every one of them.


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