Indeed, the film shares surprisingly little DNA with any Burton joints. His direction here is uncharacteristically restrained and his most beloved tics and preoccupations are nowhere to be found. Where is the Misunderstood Teen? Where is HBC? Where is Johnny Depp? Where be monsters?
We do, nonetheless, get a terrific story and a recognisably Burtonesque Blonde Ingénue in Amy Adams’ Margaret Keane. Adams’s believability works to paper over the various cracks in Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski’s underpowered screenplay. Adams is credible even when her lines are thin. and the chaps really have imagined that their apocalyptic stomper would, one day, become the accompaniment to every second cliched montage of the city?
So dull is the film that such irrelevant ponderings keep troubling the brain. Did Dick Van Dyke, back for a third time, pass his notorious cockney accent from Mary Poppins on to an uncharacteristically hopeless Rebel Wilson? What will Greek audiences make of the animated Elgin Marbles sequence and the script’s
But Waltz’s brilliantly ostentatious Walter was always destined to steal the show. When the Keanes’ eccentric domestic tiff turns into a courtroom stand-off, Waltz offers us some of the best cinematic shenanigans of 2014.
A crack team of supporting players helps elevate the material, notably Danny Huston’s gossip column hack and Jason Schwartzman’s snooty gallery owner.
The impressive Terence Stamp remains permanently and hilariously outraged as John Canaday, the late New York Times art critic.
Big Eyes opens next week eventual decision that the Egyptian tablet belongs with its fellow post-colonial captives in Bloomsbury (rather than in, say, Egypt)? What do we make of a film whose best joke involves the mispronunciation of Hugh Jackman’s name?
They even manage to bungle a glaring opportunity to bid a poignant farewell to Robin Williams. Okay, that may have been a bit tasteless, but it’s not as if the rest of the film slips past the palate like fine caviar.
Let this be an end to it.