Friday, 30 January 2015

Big Eyes (3/5, Regular)

A love story Tim Burton style. In its sunniest feature since Big Fish, Burton delivers a colourful and enjoyable film but which lacks of solid dramatic content to really make it great.
This is the story of the melodramatic and sadistic marriage of painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) and her wannabe artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). Set in the US of the 1950s with all the snobbishness and sexism the decade suggests, the couple lose themselves in a degrading and downward spiral deception: Walter taking credit for his wife's work as it grew from small exhibitions to nationwide phenomenon. Suffocated by the shadow of her husband, Margaret decides to take a stand and show her true colours to a world with thirst of sensitivity and tenderness. 

In its 17th film, Burton delivers a film whose characters are strangely grotesque but tender. We recognize many elements which are characteristic of this complex director: a lonely 'wolf' (Margaret K. in this case) strange to the world and to herself that tries to be part of her context, a sexist and boring society affected by snobbishness and greed, a dangerous 'wolf' (Walter K.)who seeks the power to satisfy his deepest desires. We saw that in Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. Those films were powerful and dramatic. Big Eyes lacks that power. 

Being this sadistic lie at the heart of the film, Margaret K. escapes more and more into her art (children with gloomy eyes) and we assist to her alienation. However there is no dramatic development with her paintings specifically. Why does she paint like that? What did she have to say? The film is more about the lack of recognition than the paintings. It is like seeing one side of a coin but not the other one. It could have been brought up and integrated to the Margaret K-Walter K. deception. Also the last 15 minutes are so grotesque that makes you wonder if the actors didn't improvise the scenes to make it a bit more of a comedy. 

Nevertheless the shots are enjoyable and bright. We think sometimes to Big Fish but the dark eyes of the painted children shade the light. Danny Elfman's music is exceptionally discrete: it seems he wanted to be this time behind the red curtains. The film is entertaining and it is never boring: that is one thing you are assured with Tim Burton. However this is a film that will be forgotten. 


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