at eternity's gate
DIRECTOR: Julian Schnabel (the diving bell and the butterfly, miral)
STARRING: willem dafoe, mads mikkelsen, oscar isaac, and rupert friend
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Famed but tormented artist Vincent van Gogh spends his final years in Arles, France, painting masterworks of the natural world that surrounds him.
This year gave us the intricately beautiful Loving Vincent which was more murder mystery than a true exploration of the artist himself. At Eternity's Gate more than makes up for it in this bizarrely brilliant exploration of the fine line between creative genius and madman.
At Eternity's Gate explores the life of Vincent van Gogh, at that time an unknown artist roaming wildly through the French countryside, painting, fighting, and growing more mad by the day.
At first At Eternity's Gate is completely disorientating. The constant handheld camera movements, the fixed close ups of characters, and the half blurred and strange colour graded shots all add to this sense of chaos.
But thats the whole point. At Eternity's Gate is as much a work of art as anything the real van Gogh produced with director Julian Schnabel using the silver screen as his canvas. We begin to see the world from van Gogh's perspective and its a beautiful mad one at that.
For a film about an artist verging on insanity, Willem Dafoe's performance is remarkably grounded. In the hands of another actor the temptation would be to overact the role, but with Dafoe's deft touch we have before us a tender, mesmerising view into the way one of the greatest artists in history may have seen our world.
Completely disorientating as Willem Dafoe tenderly shows us in a truly mesmerising performance the way in which van Gogh may have seen our world.