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Friday, 9 January 2015

Big Eyes

My first preview for 2015 was a movie that released last year in the US.  I had in fact asked a question about this movie at the Entertainment Quiz @ Oasis 2014, BITS Pilani around 2 months back. I must admit that I had no idea who Keane was till I researched stuff for my question – such is the importance given to art and artists out here.  Sad but true.

With my favourite Amy Adams in the lead role, accompanied by one of the most sensational actors of our time – Christoph Waltz – Tim Burton’s Big Eyes had to be seen before it hits theatres.  The fact that I love Tim Burton and his approach to most of his cinema only helped make the decision easier.

However, Big Eyes is very unlike Burton’s brand of larger than life cinema.  Other than a couple of fleeting references to BIG eyes there is very little use of special effects.  This is in fact, the plainest Burton movie that I have ever had the privilege of watching – and it was worth it.

Margaret Ulbrich (Amy Adams) leaves her unhappy marriage in the mid 1950s and moves to San Francisco with no idea what will happen with her life.  Her only possessions are her paintings which feature children with very distinctly large eyes.  She gets a small job but also makes a little bit on the side painting caricatures of kids in her distinctive style.

That’s when she meets Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) who is a painter like herself but has learnt art formally in Paris.  More importantly, Keane knows the right people in the art circuit.  A quick romance is followed by a wedding in Hawaii – all of which is very new to Margaret because she hasn’t ever been treated so well.

Walter does manage to get Margaret her first break and eventually a lot of success but the salesman in him steers him towards taking credit for all her work in the bargain.  Margaret also accepts the arrangement to ensure a future for her daughter Jane (Madeleine Arthur / Delaney Raye).

Burton’s treatment of the gradual decline of the Keane marriage is superb.  He uses the talent of two of the finest actors of our time to the hilt.  Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz have both been nominated for the Golden Globes and deservingly so.  Adams is effortless in her portrayal of a young Margaret who has run away from her husband.  She brings out the conflict about lying to Jane about her work also very well.

But the highlight has to be Waltz who never ceases to amaze me.  How talented is this person I ask??? Is there a role that Waltz will falter at? I don’t think any of us will live to see the day.  Burton’s master stroke in casting has ensured a solid watch for the weekend.  8 on 10 and you must take the family to see the story of one of the finest expressionist painters of our time.

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