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Feb 14

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The Red Turtle

I already went to great lengths to make sure I watched every major American animated release from 2016, to be super prepared for the Oscars. But it is always those foreign pictures that give me difficulty. Usually something from Japan gets nominated, usually Studio Ghibli, and usually not much else. The occasional Euro film makes it through as well.

So let’s just say that I am really hoping that The Red Turtle gets to make it on the list, and not really anything else. Because then I probably won’t be able to see any other foreign film, because those tend to not come out in America until halfway through the next year.

Come on The Red Turtle, be nominated! Or at least, if not you, then only American movies!

Beach
Beaches get me angry. Sand everywhere, sand in every nook, cranny, and crevice.

Man gets shripwrecked. Man lands on island. Man alone on island, except bamboo, fruits, and hermit crabs. Man wants off of island. Man builds small bamboo raft, but after man gets away from the shore, some creature breaks it apart and he has to swim to shore.

Man grows beard. Man build another raft, bigger. Creature still destroys raft. Man tries third time, huge raft, huge huge raft. And this time he sees red turtle once he gets farther out. And yes, the turtle destroys the raft again.

Fucking turtles. Man is angry and pissed off. So he screams from island mountain, and turtle comes to shore. Man is angry. Man hits turtle and flips it on its back. Fucking turtles.

Man feels sad the next day. Turtle is dead. Time for man guilt. Then the turtle cracks in half. Suddenly, in the turtle shell is a young woman, no longer a dead animal. She is pretty and only companion in a long time. So…

Fucking turtles.

Red Turtle
I can see the desire.

The Red Turtle is a film that can go all over the world and still be understood without too much difficulty. It has no dialogue for any of the characters (outside some nice screams and grunts), so there is nothing to translate. The story is told through their actions and the universal language of emotion. Of sorrow, angst, love, and regret.

And it is easy to see why it would receive almost universal acclaim. It is always hard to make a film lacking a normal element, like dialogue. And I am a person who loves dialogue, so the more dialogue the better for me. But it easily tells the entirety of its story and somehow still made me cry near the end.

The animation style is simplistic, but sleek. It doesn’t use a lot of 3D CGI, just standard looking fair that flows nicely from scene to scene.

Some people will go into this film and hate it or find chunks a bit more confusing. But it is a relatively unique experience and worth your time, only lasting about 80 minutes. Also, the implied bestiality is a nice touch for a family film.

3 out of 4.

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Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/the-red-turtle

1 comment

  1. Mulligan

    The unfussy, semi-realistic ligne claire (clear line) drawing style is a perfect match for the story, and color is used both expressively and symbolically, the most obvious example being the deep red of the turtle which contrasts with the largely desaturated palette of most of the film.

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