Title: Big Eyes
Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Terrence Stamp
Director: Tim Burton
Length: 106 minutes
Released: April 20, 2015
Big Eyes is not the sort of Tim Burton film that we are used to watching. We’re so used to seeing Burton’s longtime collaborators Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter in pretty much all of his films, but it’s actually a relief to see someone different. Burton’s usual cohorts are fortunately more than ably replaced by Amy Adams (so quiet and understated that she is almost un-hollywood, but a unbelievably fantastic actress) and Christoph Waltz a nuanced and deeply talented performer. And with supporting roles for the likes of Danny Hudson, Krysten Ritter and Terrance Stamp it’s clear that Burton still has his pulling power of old. This is a multi-generational, talented cast.
Margaret (Adams) leaves her husband. She takes her young daughter and relocates to San Francisco. As an aspiring artist can she actually make a living selling her paintings? At first it is a struggle. Until Walter Keane (Waltz) turns up. The pair fall in love and he helps her to find success. Or does he? Because instead of selling them as Margret’s work, he passes them off as his own. Is it a case of female art doesn’t sell, or is he just trying to make a name in the art world for himself? Margaret’s street scenes of children with ‘big eyes’ begin to sell and he achieves fame as the biggest selling artist in the world. Slightly unbelievable you may think, but it’s based on real events.
The story is strong, despite the audience having to occasionally suspend their disbelief and the direction is, mostly, solid, despite a few Burton-esque flourishes that you might not expect to see in a more serious film.
Adams and Waltz are reliable as always and whilst these may not be their finest performances they are very good together and any shortcomings in their performances are more down to the script than the actors themselves. Sadly the very impressive supporting cast is underused as Adams and Waltz take centre stage throughout. I would like to have seen more of Ritter (so impressive in Breaking Bad) and Terrance Stamp (who brings a certain gravitas to everything he does) who could have perhaps grounded the film in places where it wondered off into near-fantasy.