Sunday, 18 January 2015

Film Review: "Big Eyes" (2014).

"She created it. He sold it. And they bought it."
This is the story of Big Eyes. This biographical film directed by Tim Burton and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. The film is about the life of American artist Margaret Keane—famous for drawing portraits and paintings with big eyes. It followed the story of Margaret and her husband, Walter Keane, who took credit for Margaret's phenomenally successful and popular paintings in the 1950s and 1960s, and the lawsuit (and trial) between Margaret and Walter, after Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the big eyes paintings.

Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski negotiated over the life rights with Margaret Keane, and wrote Big Eyes as a spec script. In October 2007, it was announced that development was moving forward with Alexander and Karaszewski directing their script with a budget under-$20 million budget financed by Bureau of Moving Pictures. Kate Hudson and Thomas Haden Church were set to star, and filming was to begin in June 2008, but was pushed back over prospects from a new Screen Actors Guild contract. In September 2010, it was announced that Tim Burton had also become involved as producer for the film. Principal photography was scheduled to start in April 2012, with Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds attached to star. By 2013, Burton had taken over directing duties from Alexander and Kraszewski, and Big Eyes was set up at The Weinstein Company, with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz set to star. Filming began in July 2013. The production's budget was set at $60 million. For purposes of research, Adams consulted with the real-life Margaret Keane who was in her late 80s at the time. According to Adams, Keane was quite overwhelmed by the notion that anybody would actually want to make a film about her life. This is Burton's second biopic. His previous biopic was Ed Wood (1994), which was released 20 years prior to this film. Both films were written by Scott Alexander and Larry Kraszewski.

The film stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. The two leads gave terrific performances, with both being antithesis of one another. With Adams playing the vulnerable and meek heroine that was Margaret, and Waltz exhaled the smug, arrogant and manipulative nature of Walter.

Tim Burton and Scott Alexander and Larry Kraszewski team up once again to fete the life and work of artist Margaret Keane, with typically strange and wonderful results. What Burton has made is a film which celebrates Keane more than it investigates her, and which celebrates, too, the spirit of the artistic movement of the 1950s and 60s, in which a great title, a under appreciated artist and a lurid story were enough to get me into a theatre to watch one of the oddest films ever made. It's a tribute to creative passion and feminism. It is also one of Burton's most personal and provocative movie to date. Outrageously disjointed and just as outrageously entertaining, the picture stands as a successful outsider's tribute to a peculiar kindred spirit.

Simon says Big Eyes receives:

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