“Schnabel has made not just an exquisite film but an argument for art”
Weary of the grey light in northern Europe, Van Gogh’s friend, artist and contemporary, Paul Gaugin, (Oscar Isaac) urges Vincent (Willem Dafoe) to ‘go south’, where the sunlight is brighter. In the south of France, in the village of Arles, Vincent’s expressive abilities flourish though he continues to be beset by menacing impulses.
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) directs Dafoe in one of his finest Oscar-nominated performances; Dafoe’s Vincent lurches from crisis to crisis with desperate vitality but also experiences moments of heart-rending grace. An excellent supporting cast features Rupert Friend (as Vincent’s brother, Theo), Mads Mikkelsen, Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric.