“BIG EYES” My rating: B-
105 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
In “Big Eyes” Tim Burton takes on the oddball odyssey of Walter and Margaret Keane, who a half century ago launched an art-world/cultural sensation with cartoonish paintings of children with huge, sad eyes.
Despite being savaged as tasteless kitsch by the critics — the eyes were compared to “big stale jelly beans” — these “Keane Kids” became hot commodities. Fame and fortune followed. Think of it as a pre-Tomas Kinkade display of bad taste.
Eventually the Keane Kids generated a scandal when it was proven in court that Walter Keane, who claimed to be the artist, was in fact no more than a hack taking credit for his wife’s work.
Burton has two very fine actors in Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. His recreation of ‘60s San Francisco feels authentic. And the subject matter promises something along the lines of “Ed Wood,” for my money the director’s most heartfelt work.
After all, both films are about “artists” who specialize in…well, not art.
But whereas “Ed Wood” was a very funny celebration of a tasteless filmmaker — often cited as the worst director of all time yet obsessed with capturing his questionable vision on celluloid — “Big Eyes” is a more conflicted affair.