Film Review – Big Eyes (2014)

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Title – Big Eyes (2014)

Director – Tim Burton (Ed Wood)

Cast – Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terrence Stamp

Plot – The true life tale of famed 1950’s and 60’s “big eye” artist Margaret Keane (Adams) and trials and tribulations that occurred when her calculating husband Walter (Waltz) takes credit for her high selling work.

 “Sweep the gutters before the taste police arrive”

Review by Eddie on 29/07/2015

Quite possibly the least Tim Burton like film Tim Burton has ever directed, Big Eyes sees the wild haired master return from his long sojourn in the realms of fantasy to once more tell a stranger than fiction true life tale of famed artist Margaret Keane that unlike Burton’s fantastic Ed Wood, fails to resonate on any other level other than slight intrigue.

Burton has been floundering for a number of years now, with his last genuine quality picture coming all the way back in 2007 with Sweeny Todd and while it’s good to see him try and do something a little more “normal” and down to earth, Big Eyes could’ve been livened up by a little of the weird and often wonderful charms that made Burton such a breath of fresh year in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

Big Eyes is a film crying out for something more to make it more memorable and more involving, and while there are very small moments of Burtonisims like a bug eyed trip to the local supermarket or the early 60’s period designs of the costumes and landscapes, Big Eyes generic nature is its ultimate undoing and by the films somewhat abrupt and low key finale you’ll realise that the reliable Amy Adams and the over the top hamming of Christoph Waltz were not enough to make Margaret’s tale worthwhile.

Whilst Adams won a Golden Globe for her performance here as Margaret, we’ve all seen her better before and her portrayal of Margaret is often quite annoying where we needed her to be the glue holding the film together when Waltz is seemingly set upon single handily stealing every scene he appears in with a worryingly frustrating turn.

So good in his double bill of Tarantino films, Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds, Waltz goes completely bonkers in his portrayal of dodgy artist and con man Walter Keane and displays an aptitude to deliver every single line of dialogue in way that neither resonates or appears believable and it’s been a long time since I can recall seeing such a misguided performance from such an experienced performer.

The heart of this real life story is enough to make Big Eyes watchable but the film itself lacks a heart of its own and even ardent fans of Burton will be wishing that Beetlejuice 2 was out already when watching this low key drama play out with a nearly unwatchable “look at me” turn from its male lead and an uninteresting turn from its female lead that halt the film in its un-Burton like tracks.

2 quick-fire court cases out of 5

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8 responses to “Film Review – Big Eyes (2014)

  1. Hi Eddie – Spot-on review – and Waltz’s performance was just so incredible (but for all the wrong reasons); a bit of a misfire, and a story that needed a bit more grit to it

    • Hey mate, cheers. I really couldn’t believe how off his performance was. I am not overly sure what the real life Walter was like but gee wiz it felt like Waltz needed to be wrangled in a lot more.
      E

  2. Yeah, exactly. There’s a phrase (I think it’s from Monty Python) that goes, “He’s off his trolley and dancing with the cake stand”, that sums up his performance perfectly.

  3. I actually adored this one. Got a little too comedic at the end, but I thought Waltz and Adams were good, though the latter maybe a bit dull. Knew nothing about Keane but I was unabashedly hooked throughout.

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