movies

Review: Van Gogh tribute ‘Loving Vincent’ draws a blank

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Hant-painted film lovingly recreates Van Gogh’s style but its script is a snore

“Loving Vincent” was brought to life by more than 100 artists who hand painted each of the film’s 65,000-plus frames. It makes for a stunning visual sensation, liking being enveloped by and floating inside a living, breathing oil painting.

It’s too bad, then, that the film’s script feels like it was scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

“Loving Vincent” tells of the life and death of Vincent van Gogh. It’s framed as a tribute to the man and his art and as a partial biopic, partial murder mystery, drawing inspiration from van Gogh and the characters that populated his works.

The animation has a fluent, surreal quality that recalls Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life”; you can find yourself getting lost in the strokes and swirls on screen. That’s certainly a better option that following the story, which bounces between flashbacks from van Gogh’s life and the investigation of his death. It relies on forced exposition to push the story forward and often recalls bad dinner theater, and is certainly the least interesting way to tell van Gogh’s tale.

Writer-director team Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman (they co-wrote the script with Jacek Dehnel) get lost in the details, where any exploration of van Gogh’s style or story would have made for a better canvas.

When the movie is released on Blu-Ray, there will most certainly be a feature dedicated to making the film, and that is likely to be more interesting and a better tribute to van Gogh than the film itself. Those artists who toiled over the making of the movie are the ones who really loved and captured the spirit of van Gogh. The movie plays second fiddle to its creation.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

‘Loving Vincent’

GRADE: C+

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, some violence, sexual material and smoking

Running time: 95 minutes

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