At Eternity's Gate
Rated Parental Guidance (Sexual Content, Violence) ~ Runs 111 minutes
Dir.: Julian Schnabel, Switzerland/UK
Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Oscar Isaac
“Julian Schnabel’s delightful, mournful film about van Gogh’s last years is far from a straight-on biopic. Instead, Schnabel riffs on what we know and speculates about much we don’t, imagining what it was like to see through van Gogh’s eyes... We see the artist sketching a stand of trees whose leaves look like little spears. But in his drawing, they’re curlicues - wholly inaccurate, according to our eyes, and yet making more visual and emotional sense than the real thing. Schnabel’s dream portrait of van Gogh is made whole by its star, Willem Dafoe, whose radiant intensity fills every corner of the film... The van Gogh of At Eternity’s Gate is fond of making grand little speeches, sometimes to friends – like his close associate Paul Gauguin, played with soulful élan by Oscar Isaac – and sometimes, in voice-over, to himself: ‘I’d like to find a new light. For paintings that we haven’t yet seen. Bright pictures, painted in sunlight.’ It sounds pretentious until you remember that van Gogh actually did it, and some of the shots, framed as modified re-creations of van Gogh’s pictures, bring that truth home. All those sunflower yellows and twilight blues translate very nicely to our coffee mugs. But Schnabel reminds us that they were, in fact, the very colors of one man’s life.” - Stephanie Zacharek, Time.