Tim Burton directs the incredible true story of a kitsch-art con man in Big Eyes | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Tim Burton directs the incredible true story of a kitsch-art con man in Big Eyes 

The eyes have it: Jason Schwartzman plays an art gallery owner 
in Tim Burton's Big Eyes.

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The eyes have it: Jason Schwartzman plays an art gallery owner in Tim Burton's Big Eyes.

By all indications, the actor Christoph Waltz is a perfectly nice guy in real life. On screen, however, he projects a creepy menace that resonates on some ambient frequency. That makes him wrong for the lead role in BIG EYES, director Tim Burton's otherwise engaging film based on the real-life story of con artist extraordinaire Walter Keane, who built a fraudulent pop-art empire in the 1950s and '60s.

The short version: Keane made millions selling mass-produced prints of his "Big Eyes" paintings—maudlin portraits of sad children with, you guessed it, big eyes. The art establishment reviled the work, but Keane laughed (and drank, and caroused) all the way to the bank. Later, it was dramatically disclosed that his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams), was the actual creator of the paintings, and that Walter was a world-class charlatan and sociopath.

Walter turned out to be a very bad guy, but he's not supposed to start out that way. When Margaret first meets him, the film tries to make us fall in love along with her, swept away by Walter's charm and charisma. But as a screen performer, Waltz is constitutionally incapable of being genuinely likeable. We're on guard with this asshole immediately. He lost us at hello.

Waltz's performance gets bigger and brasher as the movie goes on, and it distracts from what is otherwise a fascinating, totally bonkers true story. Adams, as usual, finds the emotional core of her character and delivers a lovely performance. Her eyes are the most interesting ones in the film.

Burton's direction is relatively restrained, but his trademark visual style pops up occasionally, and effectively. Visual weirdness, usually Burton's medium, becomes his subject here—a portal through which he explores some new themes about art, deception, feminism and American popular culture. It's too bad that a serious casting error handicaps it from the get-go.

This article appeared in print with the headline "(Escape) Home for the holidays."

Film Details

Big Eyes
Rated PG-13 · 106 min. · 2014
Official Site: bigeyesfilm.com
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krsyten Ritter and Jason Schwartzman

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Big Eyes

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

Spiderman homecoming is the best spider man movie that I have seen yet https://goo.gl/jhKahk

by Hazel Gomez on Spider-Man: Homecoming Makes a Fifty-Five-Year-Old Hero Feel Like a Kid Again (Film Review)

I was born and raised in Bertie County, and believe me, this was painful and beautiful to watch. I was …

by Tar Heels forever on Know More About Manhattan Than Your Embattled Neighbors in Rural North Carolina? Then See Raising Bertie. (Film Review)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Spiderman homecoming is the best spider man movie that I have seen yet https://goo.gl/jhKahk

by Hazel Gomez on Spider-Man: Homecoming Makes a Fifty-Five-Year-Old Hero Feel Like a Kid Again (Film Review)

I was born and raised in Bertie County, and believe me, this was painful and beautiful to watch. I was …

by Tar Heels forever on Know More About Manhattan Than Your Embattled Neighbors in Rural North Carolina? Then See Raising Bertie. (Film Review)

Clint's film is trashy? maybe that's why all of us pigs would like to wallow in it.

by Jovana Dimitrijevic on In Her Remake of Clint Eastwood's Lurid, Trashy The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola Probes Deeper Rhythms (Film Review)

Thanks for spoiling the movie. Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean you have to ruin it for everyone …

by Carly L. on The Book of Henry Is a Blatant Tearjerker Whose Elaborate Plot Serves a Useless Solution (Film Review)

I was an undergrad at Duke when The Handmaid's Tale was filmed. I remained on campus during spring break and …

by PeterH on A Forgotten The Handmaid’s Tale Movie Filmed in Durham Is the Missing Link Between Classic Novel and Hulu Hit (Film Review)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation