In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist's final letter and ends up investigating his final days there.
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Felix van Groeningen
Jack Dylan Grazer
During a self-imposed exile in Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh develops his unique, colorful style of painting. While grappling with religion, mental illness and a tumultuous friendship with French artist Paul Gauguin, van Gogh begins to focus on his relationship with eternity rather than the pain his art causes him in the present.
The film premiered at the 2018 Venice Film Festival where Dafoe won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. Olivia Colman, his co-star in 2017's Murder On the Orient Express, won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress the very same year for her role in 2018's The Favourite. See more »
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 a vulnerable immediacy. Several roles were aptly cast, but could have benefited from additional screen time: Isaac (as Gauguin), Almaric (Dr. Gachet), and Seigner (Madame Ginoux).
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