The Red Turtle
The Red Turtle
(Michaël Dudok de Wit, 2017)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Without saying a word, The Red Turtle speaks volumes about the human condition.
Japan's most revered animation house Studio Ghibli have done it again but not in a massive Howl's Moving Castle kind of way. Rather, this one takes the ghostly tone of Spirted Away and strips it right down to perhaps the purest film they've ever done.
Guided by the soothing vision of Oscar winning Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit while under the watchful eye of Ghibli stalwart Toshio Suzuki, The Red Turtle is an endearing voyage into the unknown and also, somehow, the universal.
Set on a desert island and completely wordless, this is about as minimalist as feature film animation gets. It tells the tale of a nameless man who washes up on a nameless island in a nameless sea. Thankfully, he can survive on fresh fruit and water but it's not long before he builds a bamboo raft and attempts his voyage home.
It's in vain, however, when a giant red turtle desroys his raft. He builds and she smashes it again. And again. But he is never harmed. Retreating back to the island, the man forms an unlikely relationship with the turtle. To say any more specifics about a film that has so few of them to tell could well spoil its surprises.
Fans of the Tom Hanks drama Castaway, should finds The Red Turtle to be a charming and inventive animated feature that explores human themes while taking some real chances about how family relationships are presented.
The Red Turtle is a beautiful film indeed. It's cinematic meditation for the soul.
The Red Turtle is available to own on digital download, DVD and Double Play (DVD + Blu-ray) via StudioCanal now.