A visual feast from the hand of a master. No we’re not talking about Denis Villeneuve’s sumptuous Bladerunner 2049, but instead Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s magnificent celebration of the works of Vincent Van Gogh.
The film is one of the most arresting films you will see all year, filmed against green screen, and then subsequently painted by more than a hundred artists in the style of Van Gogh himself. The story takes place in 1891, a year after the great painter topped himself, but Kobiela and Welchman have transformed this into a Columbo-esque whodunit.
Douglas Booth essentially takes on the role of the dogged detective, trading the mac for a bright yellow blazer and armed with an exhaustive list of questions.
In truth, Booth plays a postman’s son, Armand, keen on delivering a final letter to Vincent’s brother, Theo. When he discovers Theo has also shuffled off this mortal coil, he interviews those people who saw Vincent in his final days – the doctor, the doctor’s daughter, the boatman, the paint supplier, the inn keeper’s daughter and so on, to discover if Vincent really killed himself or was in fact murdered.
These various sources then ultimately provide Armand with a broader and in some cases conflicting picture of the great artist.
Although the narrative is at times ponderous and a little forced, the cast is magnificent, including the likes of Booth, Saoirse Ronan, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Jerome Flynn, Aidan Turner and Helen McCrory, but it is really the visuals that will astound, as the directors recreate numerous classic paintings through the telling of the film. At the very least, the film’s very ambition will win you over.
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Cast: Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Jerome Flynn, Aidan Turner, Helen McCrory Director: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman Writer: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Jacek Dehnel Released By: Altitude Certificate: 12 Duration: 94 mins Release Date: 12th February 2017