An insightful biopic, At Eternity’s Gate does a superb job at taking viewers on a journey across a troubled artist’s search for meaning and unconventional painting methods. Willem Dafoe’s tour de force performance adds so much sorrow and emotion that he completely transforms into Van Gogh.
What makes this movie unique is its ability to translate its character’s distressed thoughts onto the screen and allow viewers to experience the turmoil he was going through. Vincent Van Gogh, was an artist who was undoubtedly ahead of his time and the movie makes it clear that he was a misunderstood perfectionist. We constantly find ourselves caring for this fragile character due to the presentation of the story and the spectacular performance. ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ follows Vincent Van Gogh during his final years as he begins to reflect on many different aspects of his life through his paintings, while staying in France.
Willem Dafoe is simply magnificent in and his eyes alone could tell this whole story, that’s how powerful his display of emotion truly is! The way this movie was shot served its purpose perfectly, it really brought out the unbalanced life and struggles that Van Gogh passed through. From shaky hand held scenes to POV shots to distorted landscapes, all of these filming techniques greatly elevated the movie. Additionally, the French country scenery with all the nature shots were really stunning and explored Van Gogh’s comfort zone.
The movie’s most important themes include loneliness, depression and existential crises. We take a look at how these three issues serve as the driving factor behind an extraordinary artist’s downfall and grief. The story allows you to empathize with this character and get some great insight into his life thanks to a well organized script. The movie is rather slow paced and may not be for everyone but I encourage any admirer of Van Gogh’s work to watch this movie to witness the dedication and methods of an iconic artist.