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Wick's Review

Created Jun 26, 2019 12:31AM PST • Edited Jun 30, 2019 10:00PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. OK 2.5

    Vincent van Gogh deserves a great biopic. At Eternity’s Gate isn’t it, not even close.

    Frequent screen blackouts and repeated dialogue are just two flaws. At Eternity’s Gate has several more, including scenery that isn’t beautiful until Van Gogh makes it so. Yet its worst flaw is to waste a great cast, headed by Willem Dafoe as Vincent himself. All but one of its great actors deliver wooden performances.

    The one is Oscar Isaac, who is great as art giant Paul Gaugin. Gaugin, Van Gogh, Seaurat & C├ęzanne are the Postimpressionism Four. They went beyond convention. Isaac as Gaugin is a thespian playing a legend.

    Isaac aside, Dafoe looks like he gave up the ghost well before Van Gogh’s most productive period. What? Hell, even the great Mads Mikkelsen doesn’t look comfortable in his role. Never thought I’d say that.

    Granted, Van Gogh’s life wasn’t a happy one. Tormented is more like it.
    So is At Eternity’s Gate. For Van Gogh fans like me, it’s a torment – barely – worth taking.

  3. Good 3.0

    Willem Dafoe plays Vincent van Gogh as a dead man walking, which doesn’t seem quite right, notwithstanding that van Gogh’s messy life led to an early death.

    • Rupert Friend got stuck behind his muttonchops as Vincent’s brother and keeper, Theo.
    • Oscar Isaac is nails as post-impressionist pioneer Paul Gauguin.
    • Mads Mikkelsen plays a priest who is the worst life counselor ever.
    • Mathieu Amalric plays Dr. Gachet, famous for Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet
  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5
  5. Female Stars OK 2.5
  6. Female Costars OK 2.5
  7. Male Costars OK 2.5
  8. OK 2.5
  9. Direction OK 2.5
  10. Play OK 2.5
  11. Music OK 2.5
  12. Visuals OK 2.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.8

    At Eternity’s Gate pulls its punches when Vincent cuts off his own ear. This is a good thing initially, but lets Vincent off the hook subsequently.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.5
  16. Violence Fierce 2.4
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.4
  18. Glib 1.1

    Gaugin to van Gogh in the movie: “Your surface looks like it’s made out of clay. It’s more like sculpture than painting.” Indeed, van Gogh layered his paint on the canvas, making brushstrokes and rivulets of paint part of the art. Countless painters would emulate this style over the subsequent century of modern art.

  19. Circumstantial Natural 1.0
  20. Biological Glib 1.4
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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