Told in Van Gogh’s own language – through some of his letters and, quite literally, through his unmistakeable painting style – Loving Vincent is a lavish feast for the eyes. There are the vibrant yellows and blues so synonymous with his work, as well as nods to particular paintings. On occasion, however, such a bold style does overwhelm the senses as well as the story. Passages in the past though, rendered in black-and-white photorealism, are simply breathtaking.
Loving Vincent is a biopic focused more on death than life, which seems fitting for a man who lived only for his work, and someone seemingly so removed from others. Can we ever truly know the artist Vincent Van Gogh? Possibly not, but theories can be sketched out by memories of those whose lives crossed paths with his.
The fascinating hook of an investigation into the circumstances of Van Gogh’s tragic death not only draws in the hitherto disengaged protagonist (Booth) on a mission to deliver a letter, but also the film’s audience. A chorus of conflicting opinions, remembrances and motives from those he meets along the way paint the portrait of an artist struggling with the demons of low self-worth. John Sessions, Bill Thomas, Helen McCrory and a very English Saoirse Ronan are standouts in a cast chosen for their physical ability to bring to life characters who sat for Van Gogh in some of his most famous pieces of work – and during his just eight years of painting.
Taking seven years to produce, with each frame painstakingly hand-drawn, Loving Vincent is not only a visual triumph – a bittersweet narrative, beautiful music from Clint Mansell and a cracking cast complete the package. Showing Van Gogh’s vision of the world, Loving Vincent is a moving, incredible work of art.
CAST: Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jerome Flynn, Robert Gulaczyk, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Turner
DIRECTOR: Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman
WRITER: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman & Jacek Dehnel
SYNOPSIS: A feature film about the life and mysterious death of Vincent Van Gogh, told both by those who he painted and the paintings he famously produced.