Vincent and Theo (1990)
The relationship between the obsessive, brilliant painter Vincent Van Gogh and his more practical brother Theo is at the center of director Robert Altman's well-received biography, originally produced as a miniseries for European television. Now universally acknowledged as masterpieces, Vincent Van Gogh's works were ignored in his lifetime, despite the best efforts of Theo, a struggling gallery owner. When he fails to make a profit from his brother's work, Theo finds himself torn between art and commerce, a conflict deepened by Vincent's increasing emotional neediness. Soon, the situation worsens, and both brothers are forced to struggle with depression and madness. Altman's distinctive directorial approach avoids clichés, allowing his leads to create contradictory and sometimes unlikable characters. Tim Roth captures Vincent's devotion to his art, his difficult personality, and his descent into mental illness without resorting to histrionics, while Paul Rhys provides equally proficient work as the more repressed Theo. The cinematography by Jean Lepine illuminates the links between Altman's trademark wandering camera and Van Gogh's impressionistic painting style. … More
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Critic Reviews for Vincent and Theo
This was Altman's most watchable theatrical feature in about a decade, and the actors always keep you guessing.
This masterwork operates in the intimate, thoughtful vein of the great BBC bios of artistic figures.
[A] film that generates the feeling that we are in the presence of a man in the act of creation.
Nowhere does Altman sermonise about the artist's greatness; his achievement is allowed to speak for itself. If only more film-makers had such confidence and integrity.
The enjoyment in Vincent and Theo comes more from the director's attention to art history than from his ability to interpret it anew.
An Altman masterpiece.
Shows us the artist's greatness by allowing it to be self-apparent without lecturing us.
Contains just the right mix of drama, visual richness and psychological nuance.
Altman tackles the monumental story of Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo and, for the most part, comes up a winner.
Altman's palette is neatly matched to Vincent's, and there's a refreshing depth and complexity to the visuals.
Brilliant performances, great use of color.
There is something about the life of van Gogh that has inspired Altman to do his best work in some years.
Audience Reviews for Vincent and Theo
In spite of its awful score and how the narrative appears at times as fragmented as the characters' psyches, this biopic impresses us with a beautiful cinematography and art direction, as though seen through Van Gogh's own eyes, and it has Tim Roth and Paul Rhys in fantastic performances.More
[font=Century Gothic]"Vincent and Theo" starts out with a modern day auction of paintings by Vincent van Gogh going for a fortune, then fades to Vincent(Tim Roth), a struggling painter in his native Holland talking to his brother, Theo(Paul Rhys), an art dealer living in Paris. Vincent is barely surviving on what allowance his brother can give to him. Even through all of this, Vincent shacks up with a prostitute/model, Sien(JIp Wijngaarden).[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Vincent and Theo" is a biopic that aims to focus on the relationship between Vincent and Theo van Gogh but there is too little of that in the film.(What there is, is similar to that of a banker to a customer.) This approach puts too much emphasis on the none-too-interesting personal life of Theo. However, Tim Roth does give a great performance as the troubled painter but it is unsettling having the leads played by two British actors while most of the supporting characters are played by Dutch and French actors.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The movie also seeks to take a more authentic approach to the life of Vincent van Gogh than previous movies might have.(I saw "Lust for Life" but too long ago to really comment on it.) In this movie, van Gogh is a painter who goes against the fashion of the day and takes more interest in real life than in still life.(For example, he paints Sien squatting over a chamber pot.) But it does not go far enough and simply comes off as stodgy.[/font]
While I sentimentally love the Doctor Who version of Vincent Van Gogh, this is the definitive dramatic take of an artist on the brink of madness with few pennies to his name.More
Altmans Vincent & Theo really portrayed the life of poverty and the life of upper class. Down to the teeth of the characters it really transitioned between the two. Tim Roth was believable as the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh and the character of his brother Theo was also well portrayed. The problem was it was the SLOWEST movie I've seen. This 2 hour and 20 minute feature made you feel like you're being dragged through it at the 1 hour mark. If you'd like to watch, do not do it in one viewing session. It got extremely boring and stayed that way for a long period of time.More
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