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Reinout Scholten van Aschat,
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This film succeeds in various ways: Dafoe delivers a marvelous portrayal of van Gogh, and Rupert Friend offers a dignified performance as Theo, his brother. The production design, costuming, and lush landscapes are all outstanding. As someone who has seen most of the films directed by Schnabel, I find him an insightful, astute director, yet I wish he would have introduced more nuance into certain scenes.
The invigorating piano score suffers from an overblown volume at various times. At the pre-release screening, more than a handful of people walked out of the film, midway. I think they were overwhelmed by a dizzy combination of loud music and jumpy, blurred camera techniques. As for me, the approach worked, adding a visceral punch.
Some of the dialogue was culled from Vincent's letters to his brother, and Dafoe rendered the text with vulnerable immedicacy. There were several roles which could have benefited from additional lines and a bit more screen time: Isaac (as Gauguin), Almaric (Dr. Gachet), and Seigner (Madame Ginoux).
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