At Eternity's Gate,
directed by Julian Schnabel
(R, 1 hour, 51 minutes)
Willem Dafoe won the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival for his quietly intense portrayal of the last years of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (he killed himself in 1890 at the age of 37) in this visually dazzling depiction as envisioned by fellow artist Julian Schnabel.
The look of the film, as presented by cinematographer Benoit Delhomme (who's also a painter), reflects van Gogh's love of color, particularly blues and yellows. Much of it is shot in natural light in French locations often frequented by van Gogh, such as Arles, Auvers-Sur-Oise, and the monastery-turned asylum at Saint-Paul de Mausole. It looks, as well it might, like an impressionist painting.
There's little to be learned here about the fragile, unstable artist -- his discussions with cohorts, wine glass in hand, focus more on philosophy and the mechanics of his craft -- but the shots of Dafoe as he sets up easels in bucolic fields and creates what eventually become iconic landscapes are breathtaking.
Rupert Friend plays Vincent's supportive and long-suffering brother Theo, and Oscar Isaac is provocative as van Gogh's friend Paul Gauguin. With Mathieu Amalric, Vincent Perez, Mads Mikkelsen, Emmanuelle Seigner.
Blu-ray, DVD, and digital special features include an audio commentary with director Julian Schnabel and co-writer and co-editor Louise Kugelberg, and three featurettes : "Made by a Painter," "Channeling van Gogh," and "Vision of van Gogh," and audio commentary with director Schnabel and Louise Kugelberg.
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MovieStyle on 02/15/2019
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