The Red Turtle is not a silent cartoon, but there’s no talking, either. One might compare it to J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, in which Robert Redford, not saying much, is stranded at sea. One might also compare it to a section of Darren Aronofsky’s Fountain, in which Hugh Jackman does tai chi and eats tree-bark while stranded in space. In The Red Turtle, a bearded man is shipwrecked and stranded on an island. Every time he tries fleeing, a red turtle sabotages his flight, leaving him stranded, once again. No longer able to bear the turtle, he attacks it, seemingly incapacitating, if not killing, it. Then magic happens; we won’t spoil it, though. Like other survival narratives, The Red Turtle is beautiful and boring. But not too boring because of the stirring score that, mixed with the stunning, minimalist images, has an awesome effect. If the movie is pretentious, it’s pretentious in an entertaining way. Bravo.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White