Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman's "LOVING VINCENT"
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
A young man wearing a yellow jacket comes to Arles France to deliver the last letter written by Vincent Van Gogh before his death. As he moves around the town he begins to piece together Vincent’s last moments and in the process discovers a series of mysteries. Why did Vincent kill himself? Did he kill himself or was he murdered? Why are some people lying to him about Vincent’s state of mind?
Many flashback sequences occur. Each is as enlightening as it is confusing. Vincent, after all, is dead. He cannot speak for himself. The young man may not be the smartest guy around but he knows when he smells a rat — and the rat isn’y what he or we think it is.
That’s the story. Told like that you would be justified in passing this movie by were it not for two factors.
The first is that this is about Vincent Van Gogh whose vision of nature and beauty seem unsurpassed to this day. That he never knew the acclaim his work would eventually achieve is itself a monumental tragedy.
The second is how the movie is produced. Each filmed scene has been overpainted in the style of Van Gogh. Colors, textures, perspective — every frame and every movement looks like a Van Gogh painting that moves. Sure it’s a gimmick but eventually you cannot help but think, “Is this what Van Gogh saw? How in hell did he capture this on canvas given his state of mind?”
As a cinematic portrayal of “the artist as tortured soul” this movie is one of the best I have ever seen. It is impossible to watch this film without realizing that the artist who gave so much paid a very high price for the beauty he has added to our world.
Review copyright (c) 2019 by Dennis D. McDonald