Review: Explores the life and unusual death of Vincent van Gogh through depictions of his artworks.
Directors: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Actors: Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Robert Gulaczyk, Josh Burdett, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Helen McCrory, Eleanor Tomlinson, Aidan Turner, Saoirse Ronan and James Greene
Genre: Animation, Biography, Crime and Drama
I attended my local cinema for a special screening of this on the Monday it was broadcast live from the London Film Festival at the National Gallery in London. There was also a Q & A after with Hugh Welchman, Douglas Booth, Helen McCrory and one of the painters (Sarah Wimperis) who worked on the film. I heard about this film about a year ago and have wanted to see it ever since. Because I had been waiting to see this film for such a long time I was therefore worried that it would be a bit of a disappointment. I was totally wrong and came out of the cinema mesmerised. I have done nothing but think about it since and waited a few days to sit down and do this review. This is the world‘s first oil painted feature film and there has never been a film like this before. The director has bought in a really strong cast who were all amazing. Both directors have done a fantastic job of bringing this whole film to life. This film took 7 years to make. I found this really interesting as I did not know anything about Vincent or the life that he led. The film had to be painted in oils by a team of 125 painters, who all had to learn to paint in the style of Van Gogh. I thought that the film score/sound track worked really well with this film and that a lot of thought had been put into it. Clint Mansell who composed the music also did the music for Black Swan, 2010. The only criticism that I have of the film if any is that I would have liked to have seen more of the sunflowers themselves as that is what Van Gogh is most famous for. The only time we do see them is in someone’s hand. This might just be me but I was slightly confused with the whole letter scenario. The first part of the film is very demanding as you are trying to get used to seeing the painted film, which you have never seen before, plus it takes a while to understand how the plot is working. It is important to understand that the actors are not just doing voice-overs. Their parts were acted out and filmed in front of green screen and then transformed into paintings by the team of painters. In the Q and A session the director explained that he filmed in Academy Ratio, as this was perfectly suited to the proportions of Van Gogh’s paintings. This film is structured as a murder investigation and therefore it holds your attention. The credits at the end are beautifully designed and the film finishes with the song Vincent (Starry Starry Night), originally by Don McLean, but sung here by Lianne La Havas. This is a ground breaking film which is very thought provoking and should deserve lots of awards.