Movie Review: SPC's The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle
Release Date: February 10th at Sundance Cinemas Houston
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 80 min.
Through the story of a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds, The Red Turtle recounts the milestones in the life of a human being.

I loved this film. It’s simplicity and refreshing animation do a fabulous job of taking the most basic plot imaginable and turning it into a magical fable without uttering a single word throughout the entire film. It won't be for everyone, I can see that clearly. For me, the wide variety of creatures such as crabs, birds, fish, frogs, centipedes, bats, and of course clusters of baby turtles are a crucial part that tickles your imagination and breathes life into the story. None of these creatures speaks — in fact, there’s not a single line of dialogue in the entire movie… yet it feels so alive. This is an exceedingly gorgeous film that is rich with emotion and commands that you led your heart to its story. A beautiful example of what animation as a medium is capable of and what it can achieve that live-action storytelling cannot

The first-time feature from Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit is an animated film co-produced by Japan’s storied Studio Ghibli (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away), but possesses none of Ghibli’s stylistic hallmarks. But the plot isn’t what’s exciting about The Red Turtle, nor is it the source of the film’s power.

The story is of a man who awakes alone apparently shipwrecked on a deserted island. Despite several attempts to flee, his plans are foiled by a large red turtle. Later, this turtle transforms into a beautiful red-haired woman, and the two live out their years together and have a child. It is such a clean and honest story, that by the end you have fully invested yourself in the film and cannot believe you have reached the end.

Personally, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film and was excited to write the review for it. It is such a breath of fresh air in an overly saturated and commercialized genre of film.

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