The familiar tragic story of Vincent van Gogh is broadened by focusing as well on his brother Theodore, who helped support Vincent. The movie also provides a nice view of the locations which Vincent painted.
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It's the late nineteenth century. Adult Dutch brothers Vincent Van Gogh and Theo Van Gogh, living in Paris, lead differing lives despite having art as a connection. Vincent, who sticks to his principles which includes believing in God but not religion, wants to be a full time painter, living in squalor for his art. Theo, who works in an art gallery, lives for the moment, he selling art which he doesn't much like to lead a comfortable life. One other area of commonality between the brothers is easily succumbing to pleasures of the flesh. Theo does not sell Vincent's art, as he knows it is not in demand. Vincent's view of his brother does not change when he learns it is Theo, and not their father which he had previously thought, who is supporting him. Each brother is a tortured soul - in Vincent's case, it considered in some circles as madness - which affects how each deals with his respective life. Beyond the several sexual relationships each has, some key moments and more extended ... Written by
Originally designed to be a four-hour mini-series for the BBC. Robert Altman and writer Julian Mitchell were able to pare it down to two and a half hours by focusing on Van Gogh's last years. See more »
Altman tells the oft-told story of Vincent Van Gogh and the much less told story of his art dealer brother. The story deftly avoids tortured artist cliches and builds both characters as complex, contradictory individuals. The acting is beyond excellent. Tim Roth shows considerable restraint as Van Gogh, a character that many actors would have chosen to overact. And Rhys's Theo calm surface subtly betrays his inner torment.
Altman's camera is a star here as well, and few directors today understand the principle of movement as well as he does. The photography ranges from good to excellent, and the whole films feels like a glimpse into Vincent's world. Like most of Altman's better films, it's character rather than plot driven, so some will certainly say that it's 'boring'. If you are prone to say things like this, it's probably not for you, but anyone who is a fan of Altman's earlier films will be pleased.
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