In the 60s, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) transformed the way that art is sold and distributed across the world. It came to light, however, that he did not create the work he sold – his wife Margaret (Amy Adams) did. The latest film from director Tim Burton, Big Eyes is a delightful story worthy of cinematic attention.
This film is a refreshing addition to the creative crew’s work. It is grounded very much in reality and features (on screen, at least) none of Burton’s usual hallmarks – aside from the occasional moment of quirkiness, which feels forced in among the film’s otherwise natural aesthetic. The same can be said for the wonderfully earthy score from Danny Elfman, which right from the beginning strikes a completely different note from his signature style. Sadly, the single by Lana Del Rey that is crowbarred into the film is completely at odds with Elfman’s music. The production design is accomplished, though – the authentic costumes, cars and location dressing paint an excellent picture of the 60s. Big Eyes has a vibrant and full-colour pallet, in a way that Alice in Wonderland didn’t. There is only one black dress to be spotted in the whole movie; it’s great to see this from Burton.
The writing, however, is not fresh at all. It’s often stodgy and overly expositional, with a very weak and unjustified framing device that is unexplained and unneeded. The pace of the script is good, but it feels more like biopic-by-numbers than the imaginative and thoughtful approach that would have done the story so much more justice.
The show is carried by Adams’ heartfelt performance, which is enjoyable throughout. Between her and Waltz, as well as a fine supporting cast (with notable turns from Terence Stamp and Jason Schwartzman), there is rarely a dull moment.
Big Eyes is undoubtedly an enjoyable film, it just lacks the spark of inspiration that might have made it a great one.
Big Eyes is released nationwide on 26th December 2014.
Watch the trailer for Big Eyes here: