Saturday, December 27, 2014

[Review] Big Eyes

Wait a second... Considering all of the films released on Christmas Day, you're telling me that Tim Burton directed one that *isn't* Into The Woods?!

Burton takes a break from Johnny Depp and the oddball whimsy horror and sets sight on Big Eyes, a film based on true events involving a dysfunctional marriage between an artist named Margaret Keane and her husband Walter Keane. It's a little closer in tone to Burton's Big Fish work.

Opening up in a neighborhood with a pastel color palette similar to the one in Edward Scissorhands, we meet Margaret (Amy Adams) and her daughter (Delaney Raye). Margaret specializes in paintings of young children with, yes, big eyes. And they're quite beautiful. During a park exhibit, Walter (Christoph Waltz), a wannabe be painter, approaches and the two eventually fall in love. But there's something sneaky about Walter. One night, he "accidentally" takes credit for Margaret's work, and the lies begin to spiral. He takes control of her career and passes all of her work off as his, "because people don't buy lady art." Margaret gets caught in an awful and heartbreaking situation of fraud that she didn't ask for.

Once the setup and conflict is established, the story just kind of stays in place for a while without any new major jumps or revelations, which renders the film as just okay instead of great. It only becomes a matter of time until Walter is exposed. He completely unravels and the film takes a turn that's incredibly reminiscent of The Shining (but without the ghosts), and subsequently drags to its conclusion.

Waltz plays the conniving part well, but the film rests with Adams. Waltz' character is a little more quirky and goes off of his rocker a few times, while Adams' character dwells in internal anguish and snaps out of it in a glowing manner. Waltz and Adams prove to be two of the most consistent performers in the film world. If it weren't for the solid acting and social commentary, Big Eyes would feel as though the movie's trailer would be all you really need to see.


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