OLD SCHOOL REVIEW: Big Eyes
Picture this, a Tim Burton film without Johnny Depp. Can you do it? Well I most certainly can and that’s thanks to Big Eyes - the director’s latest project to be released into theaters.
The film paints us a story about Margaret Keane, a phenomenal painter that went through legality issues with her husband, who had been claiming her work as his.
Tim Burton’s directorial style in Big Eyes takes us back in time to some of his earlier work – Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands. With pastel suburbs and the most common trait in all Burton films – an outsider. His style in this film is nothing short of great and it’s refreshing to see Burton give us a grown up story. A story told impressively by Ed Wood writers, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Big Eyes is a film that flows from one plot point to the next and is never hard of understanding. It’ll keep you wanting to know what happens next, even if, at times, you know what the only result can be.
The outsider in this Burton film is Margret Ulbrich (Amy Adams), overpowered by her ex-husband, she leaves and moves to San Francisco, only to meet and eventually fall in love/marry with a painter named Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). After awhile Margret gets forced into allowing her new husband to take credit for all of her works – which then leads to legality issues in the future.
Waltz and Adams are phenomenal in Big Eyes. There’s an awkward chemistry between the pair that ends up working well during scenes of tension with their characters. Walter Keane supposedly was an eccentric and odd character, if this is the case; Waltz does a brilliant job at executing that. There are moments where his performances almost feel forced, but it’s something that works because of how the character is and what’s happening in the situation. It’s awkward, fascinating and intriguing to watch Waltz play such a weak but terrifying character.
Adams is an amazing actress and her talent is displayed fondly in this film. She’s the perfect mixture of weak but independent as an early Margret Keane. As Keane’s character develops, Adams’ performance thickens and becomes very powerful.
The supporting cast is one to watch out for as well. Krysten Ritter plays DeeAnn - a friend of Margret’s, who is very strong on her opinions. Ritter does a great job at playing up tension in certain scenes. Terence Stamp does an excellent job at playing a chilling New York Times critic, John Canaday, who continuously tears Walter Keane apart throughout his artistic career. Finally Danny Huston plays another reporter, Dick Nolan, who ends up being the narrator for the film.
Big Eyes, like stated before, is a refreshing film. It has tension and keeps you on your feet, but it’s nice to see Burton working on projects that aren’t necessarily of his well-known style. His collaboration with cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel, is fantastic. The two work together, combining their own styles, to create a well-framed and blocked picture.
The film is based on true stories and will give anyone interested in art, on any level, a want to go home, research and begin trying to paint or continuing to paint.
My Personal Rating: 5/5