Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #42 – The Red Turtle (2016)

RELEASED: 26th May 2017

DIRECTOR: Michaël Dudok de Wit

CAST: Emmanuel Garijo, Tom Hudson, Baptiste Goy, Axel Devillers, Barbara Beretta, Maud Brethenoux, Mickaël Dumoussaud and Elie Tertois



AWARDS: None (1 Academy Award nomination)

A man is shipwrecked on a deserted island and encounters a red turtle, which changes his life.


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.


The Red Turtle is a 2016 animated fantasy drama from Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, who directed and co-wrote the story alongside Pascale Ferran. We begin with a nameless man set adrift by a storm and wakes up on a desert island. While the man discovers the riches of resources at his disposal on the island, he builds a raft to leave. Unfortunately for him however, once he gets out to the ocean to leave, an unseen creature destroys the raft. He tries a few more times and finally sees the creature…a red turtle. Why is the red turtle destroying his rafts, forcing him back to the island? What develops throughout the rest of the film is a love story of mankind connecting with nature and, like most Studio Ghibli animated productions, there’s a transformation that is pivotal to the overall story of the film. The film is 99% dialogue free (‘Hey’ is the only word uttered and there’s a few screaming moments here and there), so the film relies heavily on the score from Laurent Perez del Mar and it’s a beautiful score that he’s crafted and it’s criminal that he didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for it, as the music makes you feel the emotion and transcend with the fantasy elements that’s appearing on screen. The animation as well is absolutely beautiful, with some fantastic imagery, capturing the beauty of the nature surrounding the nameless man, such as the neighbourly crabs that seem to follow the nameless man around from the beach to the rafts, as well as showcasing it’s brutality. Being dialogue-free, the film might not be for everyone, but if you allow yourself to be immersed in the animation and its use of music to tell the story, it’s a great experience.


FAVOURITE SCENE: The nameless man dreams of a long bridge leading from the island out to the ocean and begins running on it and eventually begins to float over it. The animation, accompanied by the score, is just beautiful.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Hey!” – Nameless Man

DID YOU KNOW: Studio Ghibli sent Michael Dudok de Wit an email with two questions: if they could distribute his short film Father and Daughter (2000) in Japan, and if he would make a feature film for them. Dudok de Wit replied answering the first question and saying he did not understand the second, as he was baffled and could not believe it.

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