“A TRUE MASTERPIECE! Dafoe’s performance is intense, and oh, so real!” Kathy Kaiser – Matineechat.com
AT ETERNITY’S GATE: Rated PG-13 – 1 h 50 mins
DIRECTOR: Julian Schnabel
WRITERS: Jean-Claude Carriere, Louise Kugelberg, Julian Schnabel
STARRING: Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, and Oscar Issac
As we venture into the deeply passionate, but rather dysfunctional existence of painter Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) it seems that nature is his subject of choice, and living life daily in reality, is a constant struggle.
Determined to paint, even though apparently no one is seeing the beauty he does while painting them, he is forced to take refuge wherever he can, as his brother Theo (Rupert Friend) helps keep him a float, so that he can do what he loves…
When van Gogh befriends French post-impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac), it seems that their friendship and subsequent co-habitation, might just be what the Dr. ordered to keep van Gogh from going totally mad…
As their friendship ends when Gauguin feels a need to return to Paris, van Gogh’s mind, spirit and body slowly start to deteriorate, leaving him with focus on the only enjoyment he has in life…Painting.
I give AT ETERNITY’s GATE a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN! Even though I struggled at the beginning of this film to truly get engaged with its cryptic cinematography, and slow and prolonged storytelling, about 15 mins in it was as if the film had found its rhythm, conveying a true-life story that was seamless and mesmerizing till the last frame came into view. Dafoe’s performance of van Gogh is truly award worthy, as he takes you into the multidimensional existence of a true artist, and madman. And even though this storyline brings to light van Gogh’s schizophrenic existence, Dafoe manages to do it in a way that its poignant, and very meaningful. I also enjoyed Isaac’s small, but important role in this film too, as he played perfectly off of Dafoe’s non-existent reality, and neediness. AT ETERNITY’S GATE will allow you to experience the majestic way that van Gogh shared his life experiences through his work, while also depicting the madness that consumed him, right up until his untimely death, at the mere age of 37…