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Ghost Canyon

'Van Gogh'
(Linus Roache, Jack Shepherd, et al / DVD / NR / (1990) 2007 / BBC Video)

Overview: Van Gogh traveled to Paris and then to England to be an art dealer. He fell in love, got rejected, lost his job, became a missionary in a coal mine, got fired, fell in love again, got rejected, took up with a prostitute, painted 800 pictures, went mad in Provence, cut off his ear, spent a year in a mental institute and committed suicide at the age of 37. He only sold one painting while alive. This award-winning film paints a kaleidoscopic, impressionistic picture of the life and loves of the acclaimed artist Vincent Van Gogh; starring Golden Globe(R) winner Linus Roache (RFK) as the eccentric, tormented genius.

DVD Verdict: 'Van Gogh,' a 1990 TV biopic of the great artist, that originally ran as part of Omnibus, a popular British dramatic anthology series is now out on DVD and what a treat it is. Written by Patrick Barlow, and starring Linus Roache as the tormented painter, 'Van Gogh' is at times quite an absorbing look at the mad genius, deploying a fractured narrative structure that mirrors the generally accepted notion of Van Gogh's mental state.

Dealing with - or touching upon - his early work with art dealers in The Netherlands; his failed careers in education and the ministry; his eventual move into painting, and his years of financial, artistic, and emotional suffering that went along with that career; his terrifically close relationship with his brother, Theo, who bankrolled Vincent during his later years of painting; Van Gogh's failed artist/friend relationship with fellow painter Paul Gaugin; and his subsequent mental breakdowns and eventual suicide are all featured here, one way or another.

Linus Roache as Van Gogh is immediately compelling, probably because he's not afraid, either, to show Van Gogh as totally off the beam. Whether that jibes with the reality of Van Gogh's life is another story (there are as many theories about his mental state as there are experts to propose them), but in trying to capture a state of growing mental unbalance, Roache and Van Gogh is quite successful. As well, Kevin Wallace has a nice chemistry with Roache, creating a believable, caring portrait of the supportive, sensitive Theo. If you knew nothing more about Van Gogh than just that he painted some espensive paintings then this DVD is a true must for you. This is a Standard Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but sadly comes with no Special Features.