In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man 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.
‘Loving Vincent’ is a quite incredible piece of work in terms of its production, the first animated film solely crafted through a series of over 60,000 oil paintings, created by a team of over 100 artists. In terms of the story I wasn’t entirely sold, but it would do the film a disservice to write off the spectacular and breathtaking achievement that it undoubtedly is.
The focus is on the painter Vincent Van Gogh, with the narrative following a ‘Rashomon’ esque approach to telling the story of the final days of his life. Our main viewpoint is through Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), a postman’s son who is tasked with delivering a final letter from Vincent to his brother Theo, one year after his death. This journey takes on the feel of a detective story as Armand encounters various people who knew or met Van Gogh towards the end of his life, with their differing recollections shining a light on the unusual circumstances of his demise. The cast is filled with well known faces such as Saoirse Ronan, Chris O’Dowd and Helen McCrory, who are all lovingly recreated in oil paintings, and the painstaking process involved in bringing this tale too life is testament to the incredible skill and patience of the many people involved in the project.
Art enthusiasts will likely be blown away by the film alongside fans of world cinema, and even though the narrative never fully gripped me, I would say that ‘Loving Vincent’ is worth seeing for the filmmaking approach alone.
Directed By: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Starring: Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Eleanor Tomlinson and Aidan Turner