Tim Burton made his name as a director through the fantastical and the bizarre. Your probably first came across his work with Beetlejuice (with an undoubtedly terrible sequel to follow), Edward Scissorhands, Batman or Mars Attacks! Or it could even have been his best film, Ed Wood. In Big Eyes he takes a true story and adds the Burton magic, with unfortunately not an entirely satisfying outcome.
Margaret (Amy Adams) leaves her stifling husband and moves to San Francisco with her young daughter. She meets Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) and a whirlwind romance soon leads to marriage. Both are struggling artists, but whilst salesman and conman Walter is trying to sell his work, it soon becomes clear that Margaret’s are more popular. He persuades her to pretend that he’s the actual painter behind the “big-eyes” waifs and he rapidly finds fame and fortune. However, Margaret is increasingly unhappy about the deception; both to her daughter and the world.
Big Eyes is full of the glitz and extra touches we’ve come to expect from a Tim Burton film. There’s a great performance from Amy Adams as the main protagonist and it looks stunning. Unfortunately, Waltz’s performance increasingly oversteps the line into panto as the film reaches its conclusion. The court scene is woefully misjudged. Whilst Christoph Waltz has two Academy Awards it’s pertinent to remember that Nicholas Cage has a Best Actor Oscar. The script itself is basic, stifling and unconvincing, and at no point does it actually feel like a true story. Having said that, it’s entertaining enough, and has some great little cameos and winks.
Big Eyes is out in cinemas now.