Vincent and Theo (Altman, 1990)

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Vincent and Theo structures itself around the turbulent personality of Vincent and the repressed vision of his art gallery owner sibling, Theo. This fluctuating love/hate relationship becomes the core virtue and structuring technique of Altman’s story, yet the film doesn’t contain the dense stylistic layering or meandering beauty of the director’s best work. Strange considering the haunting and violent lead character on display. Instead, this overlong jaunt with the Brothers Van Gogh comes across as beautifully muddled, an enigmatic snapshot of two brothers grappling with unseen personal crises concerning vision, impotence, and taste. Akira Kurosawa’s vision of the painter in Dreams feels even more visually impressive after watching Altman’s banal and studied treatment of an artist in conflict with the world.

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