Loving Vincent - This Van Gough Cinematic Universe Movie Just About Rocks
Dir: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Starring Douglas Booth, Robert Gulaczyk, Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, Jerome Flynn
As well as being the first fully oil painted film, this visually remarkable movie can boast another first – it creates Vincent Van Gogh’s own cinematic universe. Just as Marvel populate their MCU with superheroes from the pages of various of their comics, thus Loving Vincent takes figures from the more famous of Van Gogh’s paintings and turns them into interwoven characters in a drama, all here populating the backgrounds of his works, the very rooms and fields he so lovingly painted.
Which is a pretty radical conceit. Shame it’s not got much of a script to go with it. Having decided to make a movie the brings to life the artist’s paintings, mirroring his own style, filmmakers Kobiela and Welchman then unfold a story that works as an investigation into the death of Van Gogh (skulduggery and conspiracy theories have long been mooted), led by amateur detective – and Vincent subject – Armand Roulin – as played by Douglas Booth. Due to the film’s rotoscoping approach (the cast were filmed and then painted over) the actors faces start to morph with the figures of the original paintings, thus it is possible to see the likes of not only Booth, but Turner, Ronan, Flynn et al as they articulate.
Loving Vincent is a bold movie, and perhaps, given the scope of its ambition, it’s a little churlish to knock it back a bit on the grounds of a duff script (and Booth’s irritating East End accent.) But it is an issue, even if the film is visually ravishing.
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