Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDs
BIG EYES (Entertainment in Video) is an entertaining account of a famous American 1960’s art fraud case. Margaret Keane (likeable Amy Adams) paints waif children with big eyes (absolute kitsch). Her husband (a creepy Christoph Waltz), threatening and charming, can’t paint, but he takes full credit for her work and with his flair for publicity and marketing makes them a fortune by selling cheap prints. Which would you rather sell: a $500 painting or a million cheaply reproduced posters? She finally has to take him to court to prove him a liar. Directed by Tim Burton, the most obvious Burton touch is when she goes shopping in a supermarket and all the staff and customers look like copies of her paintings Terence Stamp makes a brief appearance as a formidable art critic.
THE OFFENCE (Eureka). Sean Connery in 1972 gives one of his most serious and finest performances in Sidney Lumet’s cold and stark adaptation of John Hopkins’ harrowing play, This Story of Yours. A mentally and morally broken detective (Connery), who has been brutalised by the horrors he has seen over 20 years service, beats a child molester (Ian Bannen) to death, seeing in him a mirror image of his own violence and latent paedophilia. It takes a pervert to know a pervert. Connery and Bannen are evenly matched in their stagey sadomasochistic scenes.
FIELD PUNISHMENT NO 1 (Odyssey) is based on true events and tells what happened to some brave New Zealand conscientious objectors during World War 1. Army rules did not apply to these men. They were deported against their will to the front line in France where they were humiliated, beaten, tied to posts, gassed and dragged through mud and water in an attempt to break them. The film, serious, sombre, painful, and somewhat pedestrian, is not easy to watch but it is a story that needs to be told and will be of interest to any student of the Great War
Robert Tanitch’s short film of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est is on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?