Directed by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Written by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Jacek Dehnel
Starring: Douglas Booth, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Saoirse Ronan, Robin Hodges, Jerome Flynn
Armand (Booth) comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days there.
This is one of the most unusual and ambitious animated films ever made. Currently, this is the only film to be fully created through painting. More than 115 painters created more than 65,000 frames using oil paint on canvas, a technique used by Vincent van Gogh. The film was directed by Dorota Kobiela (The Flying Machine) and Hugh Welchman (Free Jimmy). This pair worked with Jacek Dehnel (Artykul osiemnasty) on the screenplay as well. The voices were provided by Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending), Helen McCrory (Hugo), Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent), and John Sessions (Florence Foster Jenkins). Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Robin Hodges (Bill) and Jerome Flynn (Best) also provided their talents to the film.
This is a fascinating story, built around a number of real events. The writing does a nice job finding a central character to guide the story along. The writing also provides some great insights into the life of a creative genius. Luckily, this film is not an attempt to solve a mystery or glorify a man. This is a solid story that is written to express many ideas and thoughts about the early death of Vincent van Gogh. This film does have some weaker moments due to dialogue that sometimes feels a little melodramatic, but otherwise this is a solid story.
The actors did a nice job bringing the characters in this film to life. There really isn’t a standout performance, with everyone holding their own. The stars seemed to understand the emotional undercurrent in the story and their work brought it out nicely. Overall, there isn’t anything to complain about with the acting in this one.
To say that this film is all about the visuals would definitely be a disservice to the other aspects of the movie. That being said, the visuals alone should draw people to this one. The work of so many artists came together to create more than 65,000 hand painted frames. These images move with a unique elegance that really allows the van Gogh style to live throughout the film. The sound work and the music by Clint Mansell (Suspect Zero) also add a nice layer to this one.
This is a unique film experience that shouldn’t be missed. While the writing isn’t perfect, the acting and visuals push this one in a unique direction. Fans of the stars should make sure to check this one out. I would also suggest this one to fans of animation since they likely haven’t seen anything quite like this. I give this one 4.3 out of 5 stars.