By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Loving Vincent begins with text explaining how it is an animated film comprised of countless oil paintings in the style of Van Gogh, painstakingly created by over 100 artists. This is a good call, because despite the evidence of your eyes, you’d never guess that someone was as audacious as to paint an entire film.
Yep, the whole thing.
The film takes place a year after Van Gogh’s erstwhile suicide, shooting himself in the stomach and dying two days later insisting he was trying to kill himself in this strange manner. The son of the postman who handled the majority of Van Gogh’s correspondence is tasked with searching for Van Gogh’s brother to deliver a last letter to him.
Loving Vincent is more than just its lovely and technically baffling imagery- a manual rotoscoping in the style of one of the world’s most recognizable painters. Make no mistake, filmmakers Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman should have an Animation Oscar nomination in hand just for that alone- it really is a staggering achievement.
Just another day at the office…
However, there’s a real film here, too, one with heartfelt and effective performances under all the paint from Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, O’Dowd, Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Bronn-err-Jerome Flynn, and many more, scored by evocatively by the one and only Clint Mansell.
There’s also a real story here, one full of mystery and heartache and stunning biographical details. Perhaps you knew that Van Gogh didn’t start painting until he was 28 and was dead by 37, but I didn’t, and when you consider the span of his achievement in not even a decade of work, it makes you wish what could have been even more. Surrender yourself to the melancholy rthymns of this story and these visuals and you will experience something quite special.
The crime investigation throughline was perhaps a tiny bit unneeded, despite the dispute over the true facts of Van Gogh’s death that survives to this day.
Also, this is yet another film about continental Europeans in which everyone features a British Isles accent, up to and including Chris O’Dowd’s hearty Irish brogue. All the characters are actually French or Dutch, of course, and the filmmakers were largely Polish, so I dunno…
Loving Vincent is a gorgeously rendered and often quite touching portrait of one of art history’s most enigmatic and brilliant figures.
Loving Vincent (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every famous painting of Van Gogh’s that you recognize (do a Google image search first)
Take a Drink: for every actor that you recognize underneath all that oil paint
Take a Drink: for every flashback
Take a Drink: whenever Van Gogh is drawing or painting
Take a Drink: for every drink a character takes
Do a Shot: any time a child throws rocks at somebody