“Loving Vincent”

FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last Friday, I saw “Loving Vincent,” which is voiced by Douglas Boothe (Noah, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Helen McCrory (Hugo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Saorise Ronan (Lady Bird, The Host), Robin Hodges (Bill, Gary Tank Commander [TV series]), Eleanor Tomlin (Jack the Giant Slayer, The Illusionist), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones [TV series], Black Mirror [TV series]), Robert Gulaczyk (Autsajder), Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent, Thor: The Dark World), Aidan Turner (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), John Sessions (The Good Shepherd, The Merchant of Venice), and Josh Burdett (Guilt [TV series], The Final Haunting). It is directed by Dorota Kobiela (The Flying Machine, Little Postman) and Hugh Welchman, who also wrote it with Jacek Dehnel. A year after the death of Vincent Van Gogh (Gulaczyk), a postman’s son (Boothe) looks to deliver a long-lost letter from Van Gogh to his brother. Through his travels, he questions people who knew Van Gogh close, coming to conclusions as to why the painter killed himself.

What ever happened to making art? No, I’m not talking about paint to a canvas or pencil to paper, but rather the sharpening of filmmaking and creating solely to make something…well…artistic. Hollywood is so stuffed with blockbusters and CGI spectacles, sleazy comedic blow-ups and one-dimensional slasher horrors, that one could claim we’ve lost sight of what film is all about. Obviously, the market nowadays calls for features like that, but only because of the dumbed down nature cinema has become. It’s less about being inventive and more about being simplistic; no one wants to watch a movie that focuses solely on dialogue, nor do they want to sit for more than an hour if there isn’t something explosive (both figuratively and literally). I get that I’m speaking in generalities, though if that weren’t the case something would’ve been done to shift gears in the industry by now. “Loving Vincent” is the breath of fresh air that anyone needs who enjoys watching movies. I’m quite surprised how it was able to get accomplished, but am thankful nonetheless. Over one hundred painters were employed to paint every single frame of this feature (that’s right, every single frame) in the style of the legendary Vincent Van Gogh, who is the focus of the story. From pre-production to post, it was accomplished in four years time, showing not only a testament to the craft but also a passion to make something extraordinary. To say that this movie looks spectacular is an understatement; it’s truly breathtaking. Every scene jostles slightly as you can see shifting paintstrokes that exude authenticity. The characters’ movements and lighting of sequences are just about flawless (or even more beautiful in their slight imperfection), and I found myself lost in just watching this film play out. Not only that, but the acting is fantastic and the score is flat-out wonderful. Aesthetically, this is the perfect choice for any contisuers in art or film in general. As for the average moviegoer, it’s hard to say. It’s certainly a movie to watch twice; once to take in the pure beauty this picture emanates, twice to actually pick apart the story. I made sure to focus on both throughout my whole viewing, and for the most part the story to “Loving Vincent” is quite intriguing. Those who studied Van Gogh in public school or in casual reading understands him as a psychotic genius who is deemed one of the most influential painters of the modern era. There have been plenty of movies on his life, whether biographical or narrow studies of a specific side of him, however “Loving Vincent” chooses to focus on why he committed suicide. After years of mental breakdowns and psychotic relapses, the famous painter was thought to have been getting better, even telling his closest peers that he seemed to be turning a new leaf. But shortly after, he went to a field and shot himself in the stomach, succumbing to his wounds after he walked back to his apartment the next morning. It’s difficult to say what caused him to do such a thing, and “Loving Vincent” tries to examine this through a heavy theme of life and death, and what makes it authentic. This is explored by means of mystery, with our main character trying to pick up the pieces through conversations with several different people. One person would say Van Gogh was crazy, the other would say he’s misunderstood. Basically, the whole hour and a half is a run-around with the audience trying to gather their own impression of the man, which I found interesting. At times, I was frustrated with the execution of this feature. A lot of time was spent taking knowledge already analyzed and re-analyzing it for further measure. You have to take what anyone says with a grain of salt in this picture, because only by the end does the real meaning and truth to Van Gogh take shape (even though it’s still a bit vague). I wouldn’t say the story waned, however it does have its dry spots; some scenes could seem unnecessary or hold not as much water as others. Heck, the whole search our main character goes on can feel shaky at times. But for some reason, besides the look of the feature, I was captivated by this mystery. Why did Van Gogh kill himself? Everything seemed to be working for the better. There are several assumptions given in this movie, and while it never claims any of them to be the real truth, it sure is nice to leave with my own interpretation. Not many films leave some questions unanswered. If you asked me, I’d request for stories that want the audience to think for themselves on certain matters. And while it seems like the whole point of “Loving Vincent” is to solve the case as to why the painter would commit suicide, there’s much more underneath the surface to uncover. No, I wouldn’t say that this film was perfect. It has its flaws like most features do, and I will say that I was hoping for something a bit more tangible in story than what I received. However, the pure craft behind this and willingness to leave the audience up to their own devices with story cannot go without praise. “Loving Vincent” is one of the most genuine pictures I have seen this year. You can see the blood, sweat, and tears poured into this production, all in order to create this art for everyone to take part in. While that surely can’t make up for the flawed story entirely, it sure does make it noteworthy and worth a watch. Please, check this out. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Loving Vincent”

  1. Pingback: September Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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