Film review: Big Eyes (12A, 106 mins)

Big Eyes: Amy Adams as Margaret Keane
Big Eyes: Amy Adams as Margaret Keane
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Why Mr Burton what Big Eyes you have...

Tim Burton began his illustrious Hollywood career as an animator for Disney, working on wholesome family fare including The Fox And The Hound.

However, from the moment he nestled into the director’s chair for 1985 comedy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Burton forged a distinctive path that resolutely defied convention and fashionability.

Big Eyes begins in 1958 California with Margaret Hawkins (Amy Adam) leaving her husband “before it became the fashionable thing to do” with young daughter Jane (Delaney Raye) in tow.

They settle in San Francisco where Margaret’s spooky pictures of children catch the eye of fellow painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz).

She falls under his spell and they marry to ensure Margaret won’t lose custody of Jane, and her haunting depictions of children with over-sized eyes become an unexpected sensation.

Fame-hungry Walter persuades Margaret to let him claim ownership since he has the showmanship to promote the Keane brand.

While Margaret toils in her studio, Walter enjoys the trappings of celebrity.

Truth is more bizarre than fiction in Big Eyes but Burton’s handsome dramatisation of the Keanes’ romance and subsequent legal wranglings is infuriatingly light on fine detail.

Adams delivers another solid performance while Waltz tempers his usual scenery-chewing apart from the climactic trial when his accused man mounts a legal defence based on everything he has seen on Columbo.

Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz. Director: Tim Burton.

Released December 26