Loving Vincent: The Fruits Of A Non Entity

8
2017-09-22
Loving Vincent
Scrupulous and Imaginative. Break Thru Films

Loving Vincent is at once a tasteful eulogy for the tragic artist at its center and a sober commentary on mental illness. Message and “gimmick” aside, its story is a good one, quaint and well paced. Without knowing the tedious labor that went into making Loving Vincent the marvel it undoubtedly is, though it does well to let you know at its start, every aspect of the film, both technical and thematic, is a testament to discipline and passion not unlike the legacy the tormented post-impressionist painter unwittingly left behind.  

The plot, introduced in the first ten minutes of the film, centers around the mysterious circumstances surrounding Van Gogh’s death. Filmmakers Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman make no attempt to offer any new developments to the century long conundrum, opting instead to focus on its implications, particularly as it pertains to Van Gogh’s descent into self loathing and depression. The narrative flow oscillates, at times clumsily, between accounts from close friends of the 19th century painter to stylized flashback sequences. We also get an occasional excerpt from one of Van Gogh's numerous letters to his doting brother, Theo.

This is Loving Vincent’s only glaring drawback. It’s brisk hour and half run time keeps it from feeling repetitive, but the anecdote-flashback-anecdote-flashback routine at times was distractingly punctual. Thankfully, the lush, dreamlike aesthetic that has made the film a landmark one goes a long way in repudiating any narrative fumbles.

Loving Vincent is a visual delight, scrupulous and imaginative. The ethereal pallet that pervades the entirety of the film never loses its appeal or becomes intrusive. All of the film’s main players are inspired by Van Gogh’s iconic portraits, brought to life by a dedicated team of 125 artists and an inspired ensemble cast. Van Gogh’s distinct mastery of color and movement are not lost in this animated biopic but celebrated, with careful precision.  

Alongside the visual homage to the life of Van Gogh is its beautiful melancholy score, composed by Clint Mansell. Mancell successfully captures all the shame and rage that plagued its titular subject, honing the somber elegance that has become so synonymous with his life over the years.

But it is the clever usage of Van Gogh’s own words that gives Loving Vincent its heart. The film is a portrait of a man resigned to his failures, an artist grappling with perception and mental illness. “What am in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person. Somebody who has no position in society and will never have, in short the lowest of the low.”    

The mere existence of Loving Vincent really drives home the tragic irony of the posthumous career that invalidates all of Van Gogh’s fears and evaluations of himself and his work for that matter. It is a must-see picture that dares to emulate the vibrant intricacies of the genius that inspired it

82017-09-22An exploration of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Vincent Van Gogh's deathA visual masterpiece with narrative stumblesPerformances Concept VisualThin Narrative
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