Big Eyes review

Tim Burton
Amy Adams
Christoph Waltz
Terence Stamp
Rated: PG-13

Tim Burton’s latest outing as a director is a bit different this time around. Instead of being a movie with fantasy elements, Burton’s “Big Eyes” closely follows the true story of Margaret Keane (Adams), an artist whose work was wrongly credited to her husband Walter Keane (Waltz).

The movie shows how the two met, how the false credit was created and how Walter took advantage of it for financial gain. The movie also shows how Margaret eventually took a stand for her own art work.

“Big Eyes” was certainly a change for Tim Burton, and it was a welcome journey out of his supposed comfort zone. While there are some parts to the movie that are Burton-esque, for the most part this is a straight forward drama and Burton handles things pretty well.

What the movie does best is build up Christoph Waltz’s character as a very charming individual who is just trying to provide for his wife financially and then flip that on its head in the second half when his true colors begin to reveal themselves.

The result is a plot that provides both entertainment and a mystery as to what will happen next due to its intrigue.

There are a few snags that the movie hits during its runtime, though, that keep it from being a better picture. Some of the scenes in the film are played in too much of a goofy, almost cartoonish way which end up taking away from the seriousness of what’s going on.

The film’s two stars Waltz and Adams are both very good in the film. The two contrast in their portrayal, with Adams being more subdued and Waltz acting a bit over the top, yet this contrast lends itself well well to the film as they embody what the characters were going through.

Adams’ more subtle performance worked well with her real life character, a person who had to be hidden in the shadow and Waltz energetic acting coincided with that of Walter Keane, the man always in the spotlight.

The most unnecessary part of the film without a doubt was the character Dick Nolan, played by Danny Huston. Huston plays a columnist who writes about the Keane’s art and also served as the film’s narrator. The issue isn’t the columnist character, but the use of a narrator.

At no point in the film was a narrator really necessary since everything was played in such a straightforward manner. Every time the narrator came on, it seemed to explain something obvious instead of giving the movie some sort of nuance.

The film does have another strength in the form of its technical side. The lighting and color in many of the film’s scenes give the picture a fascinating flair and makes the movie really pop. There were many shots in the film that used color so well that it seemed like a painting was on screen.

While having some flaws, “Big Eyes” is worth checking out. The film has a vibrant visual style and strong performances that work well with the interesting true story. 3.75 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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