By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B+ (3 stars)
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
Odd director and frequent Johnny Depp collaborator, Tim Burton (Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie) takes a refreshing change of pace in his latest film, Big Eyes. The first film in many years to not feature Johnny Depp, Michael Keaton, Helena Bonham Carter, Winona Ryder, Jack Nicholson, or any of his other frequent actor collaborators from previous films, it’s a brand new cast that never worked with Burton before, which is strange but adds more to the praise.
Besides the cast, what’s also very different about Big Eyes is the premise, instead of being based on a comic, book, or original sketch drawing by Tim Burton; it’s a biographical drama about a famous artist. It’s odd to see Tim Burton tackle a real life story, although he did direct Ed Wood in 1994, which was about a real filmmaker, but that movie felt more “Burton-ish”.
The film is about famous painter, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz-Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) who is known for painting caricatures of children with really big eyes, and was once one of the most successful painters of the 1950s and 60s. He became noticed by revolutionizing the commercialism of his art.
It’s not long until the truth is discovered that Walter did not create the paintings, when it was really his wife, Margaret Keane (Amy Adams-Enchanted, Man of Steel, American Hustle) and what was once a seemingly happy married couple becomes a War of the Roses to claim ownership of the art.
Overall, Big Eyes is a decent Tim Burton film; it manages to mix its quirky looking tone with drama perfectly. Not to mention Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz’s performances are absolutely amazing, especially Christoph Waltz as the nasty husband who hogs all the fame from his wife, who worked very hard on the paintings.
The only recurring crew member collaborator who returns is composer Danny Elfman, who composed the score music for almost every Tim Burton movie from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure to Frankenweenie. Like most of his music for Burton’s films, the music is very quirky and sets the mood of the movie very well.
Besides the acting, directing, and music, the set designs for the film definitely scream Tim Burton, the colors, designs, and settings have his fingerprints all over them. Also the suburban neighborhood is very colorful and it looks like it’s been ripped right out of Edward Scissorhands.
I enjoyed watching this film a lot, especially because it was a different kind of film from Tim Burton’s previous projects. Although I wouldn’t say it’s up there with my personal favorites like Batman, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or Edward Scissorhands, but it was entertaining and weird enough for me to get some satisfaction out of it.
If you’re a fan of Tim Burton or art, chances are you’re going to enjoy this movie, especially if you’re a painter; this is a very important movie for you to see. It’s like the Ed Wood of painting; with its quirky Tim Burton style rolled into reality makes Big Eyes a Big Burton Movie.