Review: The Red Turtle

At the beginning of The Red Turtle, a man becomes shipwrecked on a small deserted island in the middle of a big blue sea. There’s an abundance of swaying bamboo and scuttling (charming) crabs, and you want to reach out and touch all of it. I literally reached out to the screen more than once. The remarkable animation may be minimalist in nature, but it’s rich enough to have great depth beyond its two dimensions. The sky is nearly always stunning, something astonishing in a film mostly about water.

It is in one of our castaway’s attempted escapes that we meet the title character of the film, a stunning scarlet turtle with very kind eyes. She seems to be busting up his rafts just to mess with him and invokes his wrath as a result. From there it’s important to know two or three things. First, this is a fable, so the linear narrative and logic of the story are less important than magic and man’s connection to nature. Second, there’s a lot of death in The Red Turtle, some of it unspeakably cruel, just in case you’re not in a good place for that right now. Lastly, it’s quite sad on more than one occasion (please see previous statement).

Really, really short review: Lush, lovely and worth the wait, The Red Turtle is a tear-inducing feast for the eyes.

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