Friday, January 30, 2004

Movie Review(Big Fish)...

Big Fish

"I tell stories", Edward says.
"No, you tell amusing lies", William replies.
Edward Bloom has a fondness for telling the, at times, implausible tales of his eventful life. As a child his son was an eager listener, yet to the now grown-up William, the tales are a redundant excuse for the actual specifics of his fathers’ life. Edwards’ insistence on treating the guests at his sons wedding to one such tale is the final straw for William who then confronts his father. The pair argue, and as a consequence of each others stubbornness, have not spoken in three years.

When William receives a phone call from his mother, explaining that Edward is not responding to chemotherapy, he fears the worst and returns home. William believes that in his fathers’ refusal to separate fact from fiction, he will never know who his father truly was. As Edward retells his best stories for the last time, William attempts to once and for all, figure out which parts are actually true, which parts aren’t, and crucially, which matters most.

Director Tim Burton has created one of the most fantastical cinematic tales in recent memory. ‘Big Fish’ is a far cry from his earlier work such as ‘Batman’ and ‘Edward Scissorhands’ where Burton seemed reluctant to tackle everyday human emotion, instead opting for sensational oddball characters. Edwards wife, Sandra (Jessica Lange), and William and his wife, Josephine (Marion Cotillard), come across as regular people living straightforward lives. That may be an adequate life for William but for Edward, it is simply intolerable.

The story is told mostly through flashbacks with Ewan McGregor delivering a truly absorbing portrayal of the young Edward Bloom and Alison Lohman(‘Matchstick Men’) as the young Sandra. An impressive supporting cast including Helena Bonham Carter (‘Fight Club’) and Steve Buscemi (‘The Big Lebowski’) as an old fortune telling witch and a bank robbing poet respectively, add greatly to the unmistakably ‘Burton-esque’ set pieces.

4.5 out of 5