I was looking for good film score music to put on my playlist (I downloaded Pollock and Frida) when I bumped into the soundtrack to Loving Vincent by Clint Mansell.
I hadn’t heard of this film (and it hadn’t come out on DVD yet), but I saw the trailer for the film and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I immediately pre-ordered it and couldn’t wait for it to show up.
It’s been out probably a couple of months now, but I finally got time to really sit and watch it without being interrupted every few minutes. The film was animated by nearly 100 artists with PAWS software and oil paint in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.
I know people who can’t stand Van Gogh’s work, and I’m still learning more about him myself. I have a huge book that’s part biography, part a gallery of his works (and it’s been staring at me for a decade–guess I’ll be reading it soon). I like most of his work because it has energy to it. It’s unique, and makes me smile.
Hell, I even have his “Irises” printed on my trusty umbrella of all things.
But with this movie, I think even people who aren’t the biggest fans of Van Gogh can appreciate the story. And definitely the animation. It centers around Armand Roulin, a metalworker who is tasked by his postmaster father (a friend of Vincent’s) to take Vincent’s last letter to his brother Theo, since the address is wrong. Roulin doesn’t care and thinks as badly of Vincent as most of the town seemed to, but he thinks hard about what his dad tells him and goes on the journey.
As Roulin meets more people who knew Vincent in his last few months, he slowly learns more about the man’s life while trying to determine why in six weeks the man went from well to supposedly suicidal.
I can’t get over how terrific the film looks, and the movement flows like the oils of the roughly 100 paintings that are featured in the movie. They’re used as settings and pieces he worked on. Major fans of Van Gogh’s work can probably pick out which works were used for what scenes, and I’d probably want to try once I learned more.
The oil-look in animation is surprising, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been tried before in a feature. But maybe it would only make sense for a film like this one–an artist’s favorite medium for a movie about a great artist.
The film is simply beautiful, and the score is amazing, a fantastic fit that has a nostalgic and dream-like, hopeful quality about it. I think I’ve listened to it half a dozen times the past few weeks.
The story works so well, and I’d recommend anybody see it at least once. Probably not little kids, though, unless you just wanna show them a cool trailer or they just like animation. I think the story may be beyond them.
On the other hand, check out the trailer yourself. I’m going to watch this again tonight. Fantastic.