The Studio Ghibli logo at the beginning might be a bit misleading: In style and tone, this gripping, nearly wordless animated fairy tale is its own distinctive creation. Writer/director Michael Dudok de Wit begins his story with a nameless male protagonist already lost at sea, Cast Away-style, and stranded on a deserted island. After several strangely thwarted attempts to escape the island, he encounters a mysterious giant, red sea turtle, and … well, what happens next is what takes it from the realm of realistic survival yarn to fantasy. There’s little in the way of traditional character arc, notwithstanding a thread involving our hero facing some guilt from an act of violent frustration. But the simplicity of de Wit’s compositions—precise shots like a tiny head emerging from the immensity of the ocean—and the near-pervasive silence make for an enveloping experience. When the surprising plot turns lead to an unexpected sense of epic emotional consequence, you get a reminder of how many different ways there can be to tell an animated story, and how satisfying it can be to see someone break from the norm.
Sorry there are no showtimes for The Red Turtle on
Saturday, March 25.
The next date The Red Turtle is playing is
Sunday, March 26