Add a Review

  • This film has already had some good, accurate and concise reviews. It is well written, well acted and well filmed. The research that has gone into it seems considerable, and then used in an intelligent way to produce a piece of drama, rather than a dull documentary. Whilst some of VG's works are dismissed in what appears to be a clichéd manner, ("childish"), this is a point that has to be made.

    The film also reminds us of just how much work VG produced in such a short space of time - indeed, what we now we regard as some of his finest.

    I'd suggest that some of the films finest moments pass almost without us realising the true meaning of the very carefully chosen dialogue.

    In particular the line "It was you - you made me do it" after a scene of destruction will resonate with anyone who has ever worked with anyone with mental health problems, and contains enough different meanings to write a book about.

    This work is a fine attempt to explain the unexplainable, whilst at the same time holding it's audience.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Paul Gauguin and Van Gogh set up house in the picturesque French town of Arles. Nine weeks produced forty one acknowledged masterpieces which at today's prices would fetch £1.5 billion on the open market. But was it worth it? These masters of the Impressionist School had a relationship which at best could be described as tempestuous, and at worst abusive and fans of Gauguin will be disappointed to find out what a jealous, insecure, bullying and vainglorious man he was if the writer Martin Gaysford, an eminent art historian is to be believed.

    Van Gogh was a chronically unstable genius, and I would recommend setting a whole day aside to visit the Museum dedicated to him in Amsterdam to reflect upon how a person can transmit so much emotion through an easel. It's just mind blowing.

    Various psychiatrists have gone through the available medical records and tried to reach a diagnosis of what ailed Vincent. No less than ninety one different conclusions have been reached but what is beyond discussion is that Van Gogh was a deeply paranoid individual who suffered from regular bouts of extended hallucinations which tortured him so much that he took his own life.

    Gauguin, it seems was paid by Vincent's brother and bank roller Theo, to keep tabs on the artists mental state and attempt to get him working again.

    For a while the arrangement suited both men and Gauguin's vanity was appealed to as Vincent clearly admired the older man, looking to him for re assurance on a professional and personal level.

    Paul, however was a bundle of psychoses himself and this fuelled tremendous conflict and rivalry which spewed onto the canvas in a furious torrent of creativity but resulted in Vincent breaking down and committing the act of self mutilation for which he is so unfortunately famed.

    John Simm proves again why for me, he is second only to Christopher Eccleston as Britain's greatest currently working actor.

    The intensity and pathos he portrays in Van Gogh is right up there with, and this is a big call, the best role by a British actor of this century when Simm played Dostoyevsky's seminal anti hero Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.

    Simm is versatile and his role in the unexpected TV hit Life on Mars brings comedy to the table to complement his intensity and insight so well exemplified in the adapted for TV play Blue/Orange.

    The Yellow House is a little gem of a piece and I await the re run with anticipation, always a positive sign.
  • It is the autumn of 1888 and artist Paul Gauguin has finally agreed to come to stay in the four rooms rented by Vincent Van Gogh in his yellow house in the countryside. The aim is to build an artists retreat together where they can create and express themselves freely. However as the pair become closer they also disagree over the nature of the artistic process, disagreements which gradually become more and more aggressive, damaging their relationship.

    I will resist the urge to make a joke based on the presence of John Simm (is Van Gogh mad? In a coma? Or back in time?) but instead focus on the content of this film. The story will be familiar to many viewers even with a passing knowledge of art history if only because of the final, violent event of the time they spent together. The script expands on this well and creates characters that are interesting while still existing within the context of the story. Although it is basic this is enough to hold the interest as the characters are not too deep but not too simplistic in their actions. Durlacher's direction is good despite the fact that he is clearly working with a fairly limited budget.

    The two male leads are more than up to the solid script. Simm enjoys himself away from Life on Mars and gives an impressively turbulent performance that spills out over the edges. He doesn't really get to the heart of his character but he lives up to the script well. I want to say that Lynch is not as good as Simm but I only felt this because he had a less engaging character. If anything the fact that Lynch does so well with the difficult and unattractive character given to Gauguin shows that he has done a better job. They work well together although the script does rather limit them in what they can do because it isn't ever really a subtle affair.

    Overall then a solid film that delivers an interesting story with two good performances to the fore. It isn't as clever as I would have liked and it doesn't really delve much below the surface of events and characters but it is engaging enough to be worth a look once.