Saturday 7 July 2018

Big Eyes

Walter Keane was an American plagiarist, who became famous in the 1960s as the claimed painter of a series of paintings depicting vulnerable waifs with enormous eyes. The paintings were in fact painted by his wife Margaret Keane, who eventually successfully sued him. (Edited from Wiki.)

This is the basis of the story pulled together by Tim Burton in his usual flamboyant style! The main two players are Amy Adams, Margaret, and Christoph Waltz, Walter. Adams plays her part admirably, depicting not only the look and feel of the 1960s but also in her depiction of a person feeling powerless and the subject of sexism, rife in the day.

The show was stolen, though, by Waltz as he engulfs the role of Walter in an exhibition of camp thespianism, which could, for some, grate! He's an incredibly talented actor having flexed his muscles in, amongst much else, Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained with such accomplishment. He depicts the revolting Keene in (presumably) the smarmy and falsely charming way in which the man himself operated.

The sets are colourful and reflective of the topic of art - a great achievement which Burton has done so well in the past in films like Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish - over the top nods to Andy Warhol et al. (Watch out for the can of soup!) The acting is almost comic in many ways and certainly verges on slapstick in some of the court scenes at the end.

It's great fun to watch, in the main, and not taking away the seriousness of the subject and implications for the life of Margaret Keene, who, the credits report, along with a photo of her today, still paints everyday, a hoot! It's a snapshot in time though as well - of attitudes and the sad tale of a honest person being duped by a rogue character out for himself.

Thoroughly recommended for that Saturday afternoon with rain coming down outside, tea and crumpet in hand!

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