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
Although Robert Altman is proficient in re-creating the scenery of Van Gogh's life through the eyes of the painter with striking color and a vaguely bohemian atmosphere, he still fails to present Van Gogh the man or the artist in with any genuine originality. He focuses on Van Gogh, the tormented saint-artist, who forges ahead on the canvas with a drive to present the "suffering" of humanity. However, Altman precludes Van Gogh's obvious manias, his periods of demented elation. It is impossible to believe that the Van Gogh presented here could have produced those vibrant wheat fields in Arles, or the Night Café. What remains in this fractured (though never incompetent biopic), is Tim Roth's virtuoso performance; he managed to literally crawl into the skin of Van Gogh, and the result may frighten you. However, his virtuosity always overshadows Paul Rhys' rather tepid presentation of his brother Theo, though there are other admirable performances in the film, such as Wladimir Yordanoff's amiable presentation of Gauguin. Altman seems to be commenting, rather uninterestingly, about the commercial dimension of artistry, and of the impossibility of true recognition of genius. This is a conventional portrait of the unrecognized genius, it is a tale told again and again. However, Altman's imagery is captivating (with the help of Storraro), the photography looks like vibrant halos emitted by Van Gogh's paintings, though the musical score is dreadful and morbid. Still you much watch this one for Tim Roth's inspired performance if nothing else.
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