Loving Vincent Review

Loving Vincent

They say never judge a book by its cover.


In the case of the stunningly rendered Loving Vincent, you may want to ignore this old adage.

Armand is the son of postmaster Joseph Roulin, apparently a highly respected position in ye olden days of yore.

Unfortunately for said master of post, his son isn’t much of a chip off the old block and has acquired something of a reputation for being a barfly as well as a bar-room brawler.

So Roulin tasks his son with the duty of delivering the final letter of a well liked but impoverished artist in town by the name of Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh’s life came to an abrupt end the previous month, with rumours of his suicide the talk of the town.

Roulin doesn’t believe such gossip though.

Thanks to van Gogh’s regular correspondence with his brother, the two men had become firm friends – and our postman doesn’t believe his artistic acquaintance could have taken his own life.

Seemingly too important to leave his post, Roulin entrusts his son to perform this duty and gain a modicum of respect at the same time.

But as Armand searches for van Gogh’s brother to whom he’s supposed to deliver this final message to, Roulin jr gets drawn deeper and deeper into the curious circumstances of van Gogh’s untimely demise.

Loving Vincent is a groundbreaking film some seven years in the making.

Every scene has been filmed and then painted by a team of artists in the style of some of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous artworks.

The result is quite incredible, as iconic paintings and their characters are vividly brought to life and tell you their stories.

Unfortunately, it feels like only seven hours were put into Loving Vincent’s plot.

Taking characters from van Gogh’s paintings and building a story around them is a nice idea, but the execution of this is so clichéd and derivative that nigh on every other scene grates due to either its clunky exposition or scarcely believable premise.

Worst of all is Douglas Booth’s Armand Roulin, who for some unfathomable reason decided to give his french character a cockney accent dialled all the way up to eleven.

It’s enough to make you want to cut both of your ears off.

The assembled cast of Saorise Ronan, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Turner and Jerome Flynn and their considerable talents are drowned in an ocean of one dimensional characters and dialogue.

The result is rather curious – Loving Vincent is as beautiful to look at as any film you’ll see this year, but simply horrible on the ears and the mind.

Then again, given the subject matter, maybe it’s just a case of art imitating life.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

October 2017