Fresh from his triumph in "Hobo With a Shotgun," the versatile Rutger Hauer jumps from grindhouse to arthouse in this visually lush historical drama. Here he plays the Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel in the act of creating his masterpiece "The Way To Calvary" in 1564—amid the brutality of an occupying Spanish militia and just five years before his death at age 44. Polish director Lech Majewski reinvents the process by which the canvas was made, using extensive computer graphics and an ensemble cast to populate not only an uncanny tableux vivant against the Low Country panorama, but to flesh out the stories of the those whom Bruegel touched and witnessed—from his patron to the village farmers to the models who posed for his brush. The film's methodical hand mirrors the master's own, boldly telling its tale with images more than words.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2011