Big Eyes directed by Tim Burton is a film that starts off with such promise. It captures the look and feel of 1950’s America perfectly, it a has a simple yet sweet little story of a women trying to rediscover her place in the world and wanting to share her art with it, but unfortunately the films quickly descends into a clunky, poorly paced film with some uncomfortably bad and at times over the top acting. I left the film bored and completely disinterested in anything more it had to say, which is a shame.
Big Eyes tells the true story of Margaret and Walter Keane played by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. A newly married couple who have a talent and love for painting, or so it has you believe. Walter Keane quickly begins to take credit for his wife’s work and soon the two are trapped in an inescapable lie in which he is believed to be the sole, talented artist of the family and she just a simple housewife.
I was excited about seeing this film before going in, I thought it was going to perhaps be a return to form for Tim Burton, a man who has had some difficulty enticing audiences into seats as of late. Unfortunately I don’t think this is the film to break that trend, this films main problem (of which there are sadly a few) is its pacing and the structuring of the plot. Big Eyes never gives the time for anything to properly develop, Burton seemed so eager to just rush through the film, instead of a cohesive story in which we begin to sympathise for Mrs Keane and her struggle with her controlling husband what we instead get is a disjointed and awkward highlight reel of the two’s lives. I never felt like I got to know or understand who these people where or what made them do the things they were doing, it was constantly frustrating this film.
The one stand out in the film is Amy Adams, she does the absolute best with what she is given and she certainly shines in the film, though it’s only a slight glimmer and never a glimmering ray. Now that is no fault of hers, Adams is solid in the film, doing her best to make there be any semblance of a character in there. She is let down by what seems to be everything else, the dialogue is flat, the overall story is so wonky and restless. This film really needed to just slow down and give its characters and its story time to breath.
Despite Amy Adams being as good as she is in the film she is sadly not backed up by her co-stars. Christoph Waltz, and this is a little hard to say but he is really bad in this film. I personally feel he was miscast in this role, there were many times where he almost seemed like he was acting in a different film to his co-stars, his and Amy Adams performances never once felt to be on the same wave length, the noticeable lack of chemistry between the two actors/characters and the fact that he is so out of place in the film makes his performance a little uncomfortable to watch at times. It’s a shame really because I’ve loved Mr Waltz in a lot of the work I’ve seen him in but here it just never worked. It’s also important to add that there are absolutely no worthwhile supporting characters in this film, none stand out at all, and are instead just under developed window dressing for the film. The film really needed some and they just weren’t there.
Big Eyes is a film that just kept tripping up over its self and never once found its footing. The awkward acting, the incoherent plot and a world that never felt fully realised. There were just so many decisions in the film that didn’t work and nothing seemed to jive with one another. There are certain things that I’m still confused about, for example there is a journalist character who is a sparse narrator in the beginning of the film and it isn’t until sometime into it that we are introduced to who he is and then after that his random narrations continue without any explanation or closure as to why it was happening. This film just baffled me at times and I’m not sure as to what Tim Burton’s overall goal was with it, nothing seemed to come together.
So regrettably Big Eyes is a film that I cannot recommend. I was really hoping this would be the one to put Tim Burton back on the map as a noticeable film maker, that’s sadly not the case with this film and if you were to never see it, it would be no loss to the library of films you’ve seen.