The heart and the luminous intelligence of Vincent van Gogh are deadened in Robert Altman's coolly distanced Vincent and Theo. [16 Nov 1990, p.E13]
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Beautifully presented but over-long and best appreciated if you already have an idea of van Gogh's life and work.
The enjoyment in Vincent and Theo comes more from the director's attention to art history than from his ability to interpret it anew.
Vincent and Theo is one of the great Robert Altman films... It's Altman's most structurally conventional film, although it's filled with such trademarks as overlapping conversations. It's also his most personal and deeply felt. [16 Nov 1990, p.81]
Vincent & Theo looks and feels like a half-baked PBS drama, and at two hours and 20 minutes the movie is hopelessly plodding. Still, see it for Roth, whose warts-and-all portrait of Van Gogh is an offbeat triumph.
It's a tortuous, unsatisfying movie, but it's not like any other film I've ever seen about an artist, and it has sequences of blinding intensity.
Vincent & Theo is more than art appreciation, it is a treasure in its own right, unframed and arcing in the projector's light.
Altman's approach in Vincent & Theo is a very immediate, intimate one. He would rather show us things happening than provide themes and explanations. He is most concerned with the relationship that made the art possible.