(USA, 105 min.)
Dir. Tim Burton, Writ. Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwarztman, Danny Huston, Terrence Stamp, Delaney Raye
“You can’t make a billion dollar gross unless millions of people are satisfied with a picture,” said producer Richard Zanuck of Tim Burton’s critically lambasted but financially lucrative 2010 fantasy Alice in Wonderland. Burton is no stranger to the tensions of artistic integrity and commercial success, so it’s a wonder to see Big Eyes emerge from a spat of ambitious blockbusters that have the largest scale of the director’s oeuvre, but hold the lower ranks in the wild and wacky world of Tim Burton. Big Eyes marks a turn away from the fantasy tent-pole land of Alice, Dark Shadows, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and back towards the quirky character-driven realm of films like Ed Wood. Big Eyes stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz as pop-artist Margaret Keane and her con-artist husband Walter, and the former half of the pair is positively endearing while the latter half is quirky up the wazoo. Big Eyes could have been a return to form for Burton had the director excised every frame of the film featuring Christoph Waltz, but it’s a stroke of genius for Amy Adams.