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At Eternity’s Gate

Willem Dafoe plays Vincent Van Gogh in the later and more prolific years of his life. Julian Schnabel, who has brilliantly featured the lives of artists in previous films, does an amazing job of helping us to imagine what it would have been like to be inside the mind of Van Gogh during periods of his life that were incredibly dark and tormented. Dafoe gives a brilliant, award-worthy performance that may be the best of his career. He looks like van Gogh, and it is amazing to see the character that Dafoe commands through is eyes and facial expressions. Schnabel uses music and camera deftly to create a world of color and lack of color, arguably as van Gogh might have seen it. The screenplay presents the painter simultaneously as a genius who was ahead of his time and as a tortured soul who was not appreciated for his talents. I thought the ending of the film was absolutely appropriate to what van Gogh said and thought of his own contributions as an artist. Thumbs up for a movie that I thought was at times a bit slow and at others rather abstract but that takes us inside the mind of a genius.


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