Tim Burton combines his sunnier filmmaking style (Big Fish) with his more deranged impulses (Dark Shadows) for this amazing true story about both the nature of art and how easy it is to slip into an unhealthy relationship. This is the true story of Margaret Keane, the painter responsible for those huge-eyed waifs that peered eerily from virtually everyone's wall in the 1960s and 70s. It's funny and shocking, and best of all deeply moving.
The film opens in 1958 as Margaret (Amy Adams) is fleeing with her daughter Jane (Raye, then Arthur) from an abusive marriage. She settles in San Francisco, and as she begins to establish herself as a local painter she meets fellow painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a fast-talking charmer who not only discovers that Margaret's paintings have an audience, but he takes credit for painting them himself. At first it's a case of mistaken identity, then it becomes a commercial issue. But as Walter innovates with printed posters and postcards, creating a whole industry around the mournful images, he begins to live the high life, hanging out with movie stars and world leaders while Margaret is locked in her studio at home painting to meet the demand. After he threatens her with legal ramifications and physical violence if she tells anyone the truth, Margaret finally snaps.
Burton keeps Adams at the centre of the film, drawing out her feisty personality and deep artistic sensibilities while letting Waltz become an almost cartoonish villain whirling around her. It's a clever trick, because it forces the film's central question about whether Margaret's paintings are indeed art (Terence Stamp's snooty New York art critic definitely thinks not), even as her artistic integrity is never in doubt. Adams is terrific in the role, especially since Burton focusses on her expressive eyes to draw the audience in. By comparison, Waltz is rather over-the-top, but he keeps adding subtle shades to Walter's manic bravura, and he makes the climactic courtroom sequence hilariously ridiculous.
Continue reading: Big Eyes Review
It seems Tim Burton's involvement in 'Big Eyes' was both highly appropriate and coincidental.
It seems Tim Burton's forthcoming art biopic 'Big Eyes' was destined to hit the big screen, with the writers having previously admitted to spending a long time on the story and the director himself having already followed the incredible Margaret Keane story.
Tim Burton was a fan of Keane before 'Big Eyes' involvement
In all Burton's work you can see the strong influence Keane has had on his on art when it came to his animated feature films. The likes of 'Corpse Bride' and 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' all feature characters with the characteristic 'big eyes' made famous by Keane's paintings. 'It was material I was interested in even before I knew they were writing it because I grew up in that era of the Keane work', Burton explains. 'Then I met Margaret many years later and commissioned paintings from her, and I didn't even know Scott and Larry were working on it.'
'Big Eyes' star Krysten Ritter was among the star arrivals at the New York premiere of the Margaret Keane biopic held at the Museum of Modern Art. Keane herself was also at the event, looking rather shy as she posed meekly on the red carpet.
Amy Adams poses alongside her new friend Margaret Keane at the New York premiere of the latter's biopic 'Big Eyes', held at the Museum of Modern Art.
Renowned travel writer Mike Enslin (John Cusack), like most characters in King's ouvere, is haunted by his own demons. Hiding behind alcohol and a refined cynicism, Enslin scours the country for legitimate haunted habitats, rating rooms on a "shiver scale." A bed-and-breakfast with good food but moderate mood gets five skulls, in his opinion. This movie, based on Enslin's most terrifying encounter, would receive a solid eight skulls.
Continue reading: 1408 Review
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