Stunning Yet Stale: Our Review Of ‘Loving Vincent’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - October 06, 2017
Stunning Yet Stale: Our Review Of ‘Loving Vincent’

Art is always about pushing boundaries…

Loving Vincent marries oil painting with animation for the very first time and while the story it tries to tell is a little underwhelming you can’t help but appreciate the skill it took to tell it.

On July 27, 1890, a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. This was Vincent van Gogh, then a little known artist; now the most famous artist in the world. His tragic death has long been known, what has remained a mystery is how and why he came to be shot. Loving Vincent tells that story.

While this is easily one of the more impressive technical feats that has ever been thrown up on to the screen, Loving Vincent falls a little flat as an investigative narrative as we are just too distracted by the impressive visuals thrown up on to the screen.

The writing and directing team of Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman provide an experience that takes great care and compassion in the story that they are telling as the passion for van Gogh as a man and who he was comes out very clearly but the impressive nature of the animation pulls away from the narrative.  Making an oil painted animated film is a stunning achievement as you can’t help but get swept into the texture of the painting that jumps off the screen in this style but the story which is trying to be something really humanistic gets buried in the brush strokes.

Star Douglas Booth leads a somewhat eccentric ensemble that includes the likes of Chris O’Dowd & Saorise Ronan and while the story does have some pull for any art aficionados it never grabs people outside of the art world.  It plays way too flat when it shouldn’t and it needed to be something that was more emotionally engaging because the visual audacity of it all just wasn’t enough to get the entire thing off the ground.  It plays like a very fancy, yet very dull crime procedural that doesn’t have nearly as much charm as it thinks it does.

At the end of the day, Loving Vincent is the kind of movie that does need to be made as it challenges genres and conventions and brings the art form of filmmaking to some interesting places but it doesn’t do nearly enough to be something that can be well recommended because it forgets to do some of the bare basics of storytelling and fails to be anything more than a memorable visual experiment.

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.