Review of 'Big Fish'

As Ed Bloom (Albert Finney), a former travelling salesman, lies on his death bed his son Will (Billy Crudup) attempts to get to know the man he sees as very distant due to his nature of spinning elaborate tales from his life experiences. Bloom's stories include rescuing a giant from the people of the town when he was a young man (played by Ewan McGregor) then finding the creepy, too-perfect, town of “Spectre” deep in the forest – a town you may never want to leave – then coming across a circus (with Danny Devito as the ring master) where he finds the love of his life and ends up working for the circus while the ring master drip-feeds him clues about the love of his life; A story where a much younger Ed and several friends pay a visit to local witch (played by the quirky Helena Bonham Carter; who plays several other roles here also)…

This film is one that is an obvious choice for the talents of Tim Burton whose creativity is evident throughout Big Fish. Much more difficult for the director was the dramatic aspects of the story with the troubled relationship between Ed Bloom and his son but here is shows his talent as a director with our being really draw into the story and ultimately caring what happens to these two people. The pace of the film is measured, allowing us to understand what is going on but also enjoy the amazing stories as they play out on the screen though often it seems a bit too slow. The special effects are magnificent – Just a bit cheesy to match the OTT stories themselves.

Finney as the elder Bloom is compelling, always seeming to be thinking of another story rather than concentrating on the here and now – Always with a mischievous glint in his eye which is perfect for the role. McGregor as the young Bloom is effervescent as he gamely leaps into his bizarre adventures without batting an eye and perpetually with a smile on his face showing the ultimately warm character inside. Together the two provide us with a clear understanding of the man who never seems to be in the here and now, enjoying and experiencing life to the full.

A human story with a touch of fantasy will keep lovers of both ultimately satisfied. Wonderful and fun.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-05-05

Directed by: Tim Burton

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Year: 2003

Length: 125 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films by Tim Burton:

Other reviewed films by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson: