I so much regret struggling to keep awake during this - though I must stress that it had nothing at all to do with the film itself, rather due to my body-clock which has gone totally haywire on my sleep patterns recently. If I'd maintained the desired alertness there's little doubt that I'd be rating it higher than I have.
A joint Polish/British film (in English), this is a visually unique experience - yes, it really is exactly that. Set one year after the death, a suspected suicide, of Vincent Van Gogh in 1891, a young man (Douglas Booth) has been given a sealed letter written by the late artist (Robert Gulaczyk) addressed to his younger brother, Theo, the carrier wishing to deliver it to its addressee in person, not realising that Theo Van Gogh had himself died a few months earlier. When discovering this he uses the letter as a pretext to investigate the circumstances of Vincent's demise, and in particular, the reason for the suicide, mysterious in it having taken place when witnesses say that he'd been in high spirits just before the event. He talks to a number of people who knew him or had a fleeting acquaintance.
A number of familiar names appear in the cast, among them Jerome Flynn, Chris O'Dowd, Saoirse Ronan, John Sessions - all featuring in supporting roles without major significant screen time.
Now for the unique aspect. Most of the film consists of animated sequences, close to the painting style of Van Gogh, achieved through the hand-painting in oils of some 65,000 frames by a veritable army of film artists. The results are most impressive. These sequences are interspersed with black and white nearer-reality sections which are still given an artificial hand-drawn quality. In both types of creation the identity of the actor portraying the particular character depicted wasn't always straight-forward, but that was no great loss.
The story itself is simple enough, the investigation into what caused Van Gogh to take his own life - if indeed he did.
It's a good film, I did recognise that, at least. It also doesn't require great knowledge of the artist and his life, or indeed of his works - though the latter would help in appreciating the animations.
I think that if I'd managed to hold my attention without it flagging I may have given this film a rating of perhaps '7', but I've got to judge it through my own flawed receptivity. I'm pretty sure that in any case I wouldn't have awarded it less than..................6.5.
55 minutes ago