At Eternity’s Gate (2018) is not a run-of-the-mill biopic but something far greater. A meditation on creativity and madness, this is very much an art film. Not only is it a film about art, it is film as art. Standard plot points and reenactments of famous episodes are kept to a minimum. Instead, the viewer wanders through field and forest with a man obsessed. Willem Dafoe may be 25 years older than Vincent Van Gogh was at the time of his death, but his urgent performance captures an essence that feels right and may be the best of his already noteworthy career. Mads Mikkelsen and Oscar Isaac make brief but striking appearances. Director Julian Schnabel uses a painter’s eye, evoking moods and motion while keeping words to a minimum. Though the story is not a cheerful one, At Eternity’s Gate manages to uplift and inspire. It’s a rare and valuable cinematic experience for those who are open to it.