At Eternity’s Gate is OK

At Eternity’s Gate Movie Poster

I’ll start by saying I really like Willem Dafoe and the roles he usually picks. Some may remember him as Paul Smecker, the detective in “Boondock Saints.” He’s been in a lot of films and has over 126 roles and credits on IMDB. So, I was looking forward to this film about the artist, Vincent van Gogh and went to see it in my local little indie theater–you know, the small ones with chairs instead of recliners and a small stage that might be used for burlesque shows as much as watching movies.

I’ll get right to the point. I found the film ok. Yeah, just ok. The storytelling was really well done. The imagery, scenery, background settings, and acting were all really well done. So why just OK? Because the director made some choices in the way he shot it that just sucked. For example, there’s not a single stabilized camera shot in the film. It has that Blair Witch vibe with tons of camera shake. Scenes that would otherwise be gorgeous are hard to watch. The second point is the score. I’m not sure if the intent was to show the distress in van Gogh’s mind or anxiety, but there are segments of the film where the score consists of someone beating on a piano. It’s distracting to listen to and kills parts of the film. I recommend you watch it on Netflix if you’re going to watch it at all.

I’m bummed about how I feel auto this movie. I really wanted to like it more than I do. I like the actors in it and thought it was beautifully acted. The vehicle that brings us the story, however, the camera and the score seem to have been driven by someone under the influence.

If you’re a Van Gogh fan, check out his complete works–this 700 page book is pretty great. Van Gogh liked to paint quickly and was prolific. And if you like the poster, which I really do, you can get it here.