Reviewer: Glenn Heath Jr.
Rating (out of 5): ****½
Mike Leigh's rapturous Topsy-Turvy, now on a lovely new DVD from Criterion (supervised by cinematographer Dick Pope), isn't so much an argument against auteurism, but a concurrence for the beauty of collaboration. Over the course of the sweeping multi-character narrative, Leigh mixes performance, practice, and discourse with effortless precision, showing the "symptoms of fatigue" concerning the artistic process, but also the power of sudden inspiration.
W.S. Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), Sir Arthur Sullivan (Allan Corduner), the troupe of actors led by Richard Temple (Timothy Spall), the costume designers, set decorators, choreographers, producers, and couriers all make a substantial impact on the gloriously textural production of "The Mikado", yet no one artist can claim sole ownership. Leigh's methodical pre-production methodologies (often made up of months of rehearsals) literally appear in front of the camera, and avenues of disappointment and possibility seem organically woven into the mise-en-scene.