Big Eyes breaks the Tim Burton norm
“Big Eyes” breaks Tim Burton’s streak of redundancy.
Whether you love or hate Tim Burton, one thing that most can agree on is his signature style. Whether it be “Dark Shadows” or “Alice in Wonderland,” Burton’s directorial style is so familiar that it has become a bit tiring over the years. But, after watching “Big Eyes” I have to say that Tim Burton has found his rhythm once again.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 4
“Big Eyes” is adapted from the true story of painter Margaret Keane whose husband Walter Keane gained phenomenal success for years by taking credit for Margaret’s work. Because this story has little room for fiction and its subject matter is based on art, we get to see the best of Tim Burton. His incessant need for vibrant colors and surreal environments work well in this film. With the character development being bound by historical truth, Burton is able to flourish building the environment while Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz take the lead on creating two characters you love and hate.
Amy Adams gives a brilliant performance as Margaret Keane. Playing a character that is both independent and at times subservient, Adams scored a role that allowed her to show off her range as an actress. As Margaret painted I understood her artistic independence yet when it came to her family, I felt the conflict. The constant choice between flourishing as an independent artist and providing for her family was a struggle that most any viewer could identify with. For the man causing all the trouble, Christoph Waltz played Walter Keane much like he has played many of his other characters. Charming yet devious, Waltz gave an amazing performance but nothing venturing too far from what we’ve seen him do in the past.
What ties everything together is the man in the director’s chair, Tim Burton. If there were ever a director to capture the creatively colorful imagination of a painter at work, then it is definitely Burton. His dynamic array of colors present in many films work fluidly in “Big Eyes.” During the time of Andy Warhol, absurdity fits right in with Burton’s style of directing. When it comes to Margaret’s creativity, Burton captures it brilliantly with intermittent daydreams and hallucinogenic manifestations of how Margaret views the surrounding world.
From a cinematic standpoint, “Big Eyes” excelled on multiple levels with a story, director, and actors that seem to cohesively mesh together for a brilliant presentation of a film.
Entertainment Value – 3
“Big Eyes” definitely captures your attention. Through its visual eye candy and costume design it keeps your eyes busy, but the story is where it excels. It may be that people tend to be more engaged in a film that represents fact rather than fiction, but for me it made the suspense in the story that much richer. Luckily with a director like Tim Burton, you have someone that is able to walk the line between fact and fiction so you get the best of both worlds.
For those that love a film based on facts you may enjoy it more than others. For me the factual basis complemented the suspense and development of the characters which made the film far more entertaining. For others, you may find some moments to be lingering on and your impatience may take over as you anxiously await an outcome.
Rewatchability – 3
I enjoyed this film and would probably enjoy watching it again, but I would not seek it out. The drawback to this film would be that the story has already been told for those that know of the history. And with that history comes a typical Hollywood underdog story that we’ve seen many times in both fantasy and reality.
I thought that the overall presentation of “Big Eyes” was worthy of a second viewing but after that, the suspense and outcome of the film would lose their luster.
Overall "Big Eyes" is a film that allows Tim Burton to prove himself as a masterful director. Incorporating a few of his telltale elements while also deeply exploring the characters, he walks the line between fantasy and reality with this captivating film. The story, characters, acting, and visuals all form a cohesively fluid presentation that makes "Big Eyes" one of Burton's best.