Director Tim Burton is known for the colorful, vibrant worlds he has created on film, from smaller, personal films like Edward Scissorhands or Ed Wood, to larger fare like Batman, Alice in Wonderland, or Sleepy Hollow. His latest film, Big Eyes (opening today), is pure Burton - it is easily identifiable by its vivid imagery and over-saturated hues -but it takes the less flashy approach that was more common in his earlier films. The subject too, is totally up his ally and echoes his modus operandi ...its about an artist who tends to over-exaggerate images in order to provoke feeling, meaning and emotion. Sound familiar?
4 out of 5 stars
The story is based on a true one, that of famous painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), whose husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) claimed credit for her work throughout the 1960s. Her paintings were known for their subject's "big eyes," often depicting children or women in desperate circumstances.
Many of her paintings were inspired by her only child, a daughter, and at the beginning of the film we see her leaving her unseen husband and setting out to San Francisco. There, she meets Walter Keane, another self-proclaimed "artist" who is really an opportunistic con man. He charms her, and soon - way too soon - they end up married.
As Walter struggles with his own work, Margaret soon flourishes with inspiration. Walter though, takes credit for her work, and the shy, introspective Margaret allows for this to happen, still being manipulated and intimidated by her charismatic husband. The longer it goes on, the more frustrated and trapped Margaret becomes, leading her to publicly accuse her husband on national radio of plagiarism.
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz are both a hoot to watch, but neither character hits more than one note. Waltz does sleazy scam artist quite well it turns out, while Adams makes a very smart career choice playing such an introvert, coming off of her domineering performance in last year's American Hustle. She continues to prove her ranger as an actress.
There is some unneeded narration and not enough depth to the story to really turn it into anything all that special, but Big Eyes is interesting enough to keep you entertained throughout. It's a nice breath of fresh air from Burton, who shows that he can still create rich, lively characters without needing to rely on enhanced cinematic trickery.
Genre: Biography, Drama
Run Time: minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston, Terrance Stamp
Directed by Tim Burton (Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderlan, Sweeney Todd, Big Fish, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice)
Opens locally on Thursday, Dec 25, 2014
Looking for a specific movie or review?