Saturday, December 27, 2014

BIG EYES 12/27/14

A short synopsis of what I thought of BIG EYES - Tim Burton's new film about Walter Keane and the paintings that made him the Thomas Kincade of his generation.

This is a strange movie - mixture of parody and feminism with an over the top Christoph Waltz whose performance as Walter Keane annoyed me to no end. As the movie trotted along I began to change my view, and thought that perhaps this was a quizzical and circuitous characterization of a wily, conniving huckster complete with Chaplin-esque rubbery movement. In Waltz's gestural extremes I detected Tim Burton's direction.

The movie portrays the role of women in the 1950's and '60's and how badly they were treated by men who use economic power to control them - particularly the single/divorced woman with a child - the stay-at-home wife, and the women in the workplace - many sacrificing and erasing their own identities for monetary survival. Amy Adams with her blonde wig-like hairdo - the 1950's Doris Day look - conveyed a mixture of goodness and innocence wrestling with betrayal and fraud.

Cliches abound - the artist, the "creative"process, the romantic reasons for making art, the market manipulations - all stereotyped and feeding into a superficial fairy tale view of artists. The audience for the paintings were as flat and dead as those strange repetitive paintings oozing sentimentality and nostalgia (with a few tears thrown in) reflected in those oversized black holes for eyes. AND to give the film a legitimacy and documentary feel, Andy Warhol and John Canaday were thrown into the mix.

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