By Robert Geoghegan
Starring: Aidan Turner, Chris O’Dowd, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, Helen McCrory, Holly Earl, Jerome Flynn, John Sessions, Josh Burdett, Robert Gulaczyk, Robin Hodges, Saoirse Ronan
Director: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Genre(s): Biography, Drama, Crime, Animation
Runtime: 94 min
Loving Vincent has been described as an ambitious, and almost crazy undertaking. Made over seven years, directors Dorota Kobiela and Oscar-winner Hugh Welchman recreated the paintings of Vincent van Gogh with actors against green-screen, then employed 125 artists to paint over 62,450 frames.
The entire film is made from oil paintings in the style of Vincent van Gogh. This makes the film a visually stunning treat, and well worth a watch for all art lovers, especially for fans of van Gogh. Cornfields shimmer and rustle with slight flickers of the impasto. The night sky sparkles and swirls. Unfortunately, not much else happens outside of Loving Vincent’s visually aesthetic beauty.
A gaunt figure stumbles down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. Loving Vincent tells that story.
Set in 1891, France, a year after Vincent van Gogh’s apparent suicide, a young man Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth) tries to deliver a letter written by van Gogh (Robert Gulaczyk) to his brother. Loving Vincent tells the story of Armand’s journey to deliver a letter written by the artist to his brother at the bequest of his father the postmaster.
While Armand was not particularly fond of the strange artist, his father had been a close friend who didn’t quite understand what caused van Gogh’s suicide. Armand pieces together the last six weeks of the artist’s life by talking to those who surrounded him in that time. Armand is our unassuming detective trying to put together the last weeks of Van Gogh’s life to better understand what lead to his death.
Loving Vincent’s story is simple, much like the dialogue. There are no dramatic twists, and only a few humorous moments throughout. This biopic could’ve fallen flat on its face if it wasn’t for the one thing that makes it truly spectacular; the art.