For Reel

Big Eyes (2014)
January 15, 2015, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Tim Burton
2.5 Stars
Big EyesWalter Keane (Christoph Waltz) rose to stardom in the late 1950s/early 60s with an unrelenting series of kitsch portraits that featured wide eyed, often impoverished children. Tim Burton’s Big Eyes tells the story about how his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams), was the true artist of the family, with Walter taking authorial credit to satisfy his egomaniacal drive and make best use of his talents as a con artist. The movie doesn’t make much of Margaret’s apparent passivity, nor is Adams well cast as a woman who participates in her own life from the sidelines. Perhaps the key to solving Margaret in a dramatically fulfilling way would have been to better demonstrate her relationship with her art. The great mystery of the character is her obsessive production of those doe-eyed waifs, but Burton and screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski don’t enlighten the audience about what her artistic drive might be (an especially big problem considering much of the narrative stakes involve whether or not Margaret will have the courage to reclaim her own work). More than the script, though, Adams is swallowed whole by a miscalculated performance by Waltz, who plays the eccentric con artist as a one note clown.

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