January 4, 2015
Movie Review: Big Eyes **
Amy Adams is excellent but Christoph Waltz, who was great in films like Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, is completely miscast in this part. I could see someone like Mark Wahlberg or Mark Ruffalo in the roll, someone likable who would be charming in the beginning (Waltz never is) and then sympathetic, even when perpetrating a hoax on the art world and the public.
Waltz's performance is a more of a caricature - much too broad for me. In order to buy in to the whole scenario (based on real-life events of the woman who painted those icky, but ubiquitous paintings of the big-eyed waifs in the 60s) you need to see what Margaret (Adams) sees in Walter (Waltz) in the beginning, and we never do, because Waltz's performance is too kitschy.
So, re-do the film with less melodrama and recast the part of Walter and it would be better, but you'd also have to cut about 20 minutes. It's way too long - the courtroom scene goes on forever - and had me checking my watch about 80 minutes in.
Nits to pick:
1. Why does the daughter sit in the back seat of the car? Answer: so Tim Burton (director) could put in the theme of Mom reaching across the seat to grab the daughter's hand in times of stress. And then again, in the courtroom. A nice device if it's subtle, but of course it's not, in Big Eyes.
2. Walter Keane was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, so why, in the movie, does he have a German accent?
Two stars out of five for Big Eyes, because I didn't walk out. Although I considered it.