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Mr Chappie has an occassional scribble at his canvas but where is Van Gogh ?
on 31 January 2015
I borrowed this item from a local library and it turned out to be a little disappointing. Not what I was expecting. I cannot remember too many specifics of names and places, etc concerning the film in-depth and cannot go into details but my review is'nt glowing over its achievment. Well acted and good period 'sets' and deserving of the awards given or nominated for, but, if anyone was expecting a portrayal of a tortured artist, fractious, uneasy relationships with bemused and often hostile neighbours, a non-conformist man of passions raging against a world that dose'nt accept nor understand him - this film is NOT for you. This is a luke-warm only portrayal of Van Gogh's last few months before his suicide and the style of filming of this biopic is of a 'down-to-earth' kind; reasonable and easy for the general viewer to relate to. This 2 hour long flick has Van Gogh surrounded with frivolity and spirited freinds, in the bosom of ordinary family life, of all the usual good times and bad that comes with it, occassional conflicting interests of the everyday, chummy relationships with fellows at his last home town and intimacies with women who understand and comfort him just when he needs it most upon his release from care. A man at the hub of everyday life, 'artistic' and lay, in late 19th century France, only occassionally seen at his easel. Not at all a man at odds with people and life around him ! I was within 1/2 hour of the film opening already beginning to see this bloke not as the "tormented genius" persona that has grown up over the 100 years but just as a really very ordinary everyday chap who - happens to paint, has a mental breakdown (and this is rationalised enough, hardly even visible really) and at some point in his life and has to come to terms with this. This about makes up most of what goes on throughout and there are surprisingly few insights into Van Gogh, the artist, his works, his times alone when he created some (depending on ones views) of his memorable pieces.
Possibly contemporary art history and 'Edwardian' idealisations of passionate artists have combined to create unrealistic 'hero' views of Van Gogh, among others, handed down to us, and the producers and advisors of this film are simply attempting to sober (or maybe that should be sombre) some part of this 'myth', but, I don't know.
I think I prefer the unfashionable and outmoded views that grew out of (or maybe went into) making of films like "A passion for Life" and sentimentally based songs like 'Vincent', et al. This is the Van Gogh whose burning lust for life now makes his paintings sell for obscene amounts of cash; He, who is more well know for events in his life than most living contemporaries. Watch the film but it wont have you setting up your easels and brushes after seeing it and painting heated landscapes !