Big Eyes ★★★½

Well what an eye-opener. Arguably a refreshing change of pace for Tim Burton, Big Eyes nevertheless contains many of his trademark visual and narrative styles, they're just more toned down, mature and intimate in what is essentially a biopic.

Of course, it being a Tim Burton film, Big Eyes cannot be a straight biopic and so Christoph Waltz is essentially Christoph Waltz rather than Walter Keane, right down to his Austrian accent, which is totally out of place for the Nebraskan plagiarist. Compare that to Amy Adams' faithful rendition of Margaret Keane's Tennessee accent. We have to consider the differing acting styles at the very centre of the film, when one performer is attempting to imitate the real person she is playing, whilst the other is essentially playing the character in the same manner he approaches every role.

This confusion doesn't end there either, as Big Eyes is not a perfect film. Like many auteurs, there are some decisions you wish someone intervened in. For example. Danny Huston's narration is really not needed, like at all. Also, whilst Christoph Waltz's courtoom scenes may be utterly hilarious ,they are also much larger than anything else in the film or even Waltz's performance prior to them, meaning the audience has no preparation for when these sudden broad comedic brushstrokes start to appear.

Big Eyes tells a fascinating real-life story and marries Burton's kitsch sensibilities rather well, but I do think a director rather than an auteur would have got the balance right. To my mind however, it is one of that rare handful of films from Burton that I can actually tolerate.

The photo of Adams and the real Margaret Keane in the closing credits is really sweet, and Terence Stamp delivers another of his cool AF, respectable statesman performances.

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