“Last official movie of 2014 (despite what the date on this post may say). There’ve been a lot of movies this year that have truly been visceral experiences, where the emotion of our charaters is so strong, I feel it in my seat, to an uncomfortable level. Big Eyes may not have had the extreme effect on me that Whiplash did, but it did feed a minor anxiety attack that still hasn’t quite subsided.
Abandoning the stranger darker films that haven’t quite been working for him in the past few years, Tim Burton takes on the story of the Keanes, artists Walter and Margaret, played by Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. I love the tagline for the film: She created it. He sold it. And they bought it. Basically, she painted some rather stunning paintings of children drawn with oversize eyes. Walter started selling them, claiming that he was the artist. As the paintings get more and more popular, Walter gets more and more successful, and the lies get bigger and bigger.
I’m not even that sure where the anxiety came in for me. I think it was just in seeing Margaret swallowed up by the scheme, not being able to dig herself out of it, not being able to make herself heard. Adams gave such a masterful performance, really capturing and conveying everything without doing a lot. Waltz, on the other hand, may have been doing too much. Really getting caught up in the spectacle of the character, going far more over the top than could be believed. But then again, it’s a stranger than fiction story, so he had to give a larger than life performance.
The film decisively sides with Margaret’s despite Walter denying the allegations to his grave. That choice certainly made it much more effective emotionally, but I wonder what it would have been like if it was more ambiguous. Maybe more playful and mysterious. Either way, I’m thrilled that Burton seems to have found his footing again, by starting from scratch. New story, new cast, new magic. It gives me hope for him in the future again
Big Eyes – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”