At Eternity’s Gate

Watching “At Eternity’s Gate,” I noticed and admired the movie’s visual style of colors. They’re all adjusted based on moods and tones. Some night scenes are shaded blue, other scenes are in their normal format, one sunset scene is given an orange complexion, and there are yellow shots so lovely, I was dazzled. It looks like a work of art.

“At Eternity’s Gate” is director Julian Schnabel’s take on painter Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) and his final years in the South of France as an artist whose work wasn’t really for the Turn of the Century generation. To put it bluntly, no one was buying or admiring his work. One of the things about his artistic style is that he prefers fast painting on account of the famous painters to do so, and he does it on a clear gesture.

He’s mentally disturbed, because of how he represents his visions through his art, his alcoholism, and the fact that he cut off part of his ear to convince his good artist friend Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac) to stay. He even agrees to be placed in a mental asylum.

I’m not too familiar with this artist, but I’m sure the movie has been embellished a little bit on a more sentimental tone. I can’t exactly call “At Eternity’s Gate” an accurate biopic, but I can call it well-acted and colorfully painted. Dafoe gives one of his memorable performances as van Gogh in the ways he deals with his characters instability and artistic style. His acting and tone matches the artist tremendously.

Besides Dafoe and Isaac, the cast also includes Mads Mikkelsen as a priest, who visits van Gogh in the institution, Rupert Friend as his brother, who supports his art and dream more than anyone, and Matthieu Amalric cameos as a doctor whom van Gogh sketches. I think the best is Mikkelsen, because his conversation with van Gogh is well-written and crafted.

Again, I love the film’s color-coding of screen formats, based on moods and tones. Even one shot was presented in black and white before the colored version pops up. The sunny moments are mostly bright, the shadows and nighttime sequences are a little dreary, and the inspiration is like a a rainbow.

See “At Eternity’s Gate” for Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Vincent van Gogh, and for its eclectic taste in colors.


Categories: Biography, Drama

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