Big Fish (2003, USA) C-125m. **** D: Tim Burton. Starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman, Robert Guillaume, Marion Cottilard, Matthew McGrory, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito. Marvelous, touching drama, vintage Burton. Crudup is at odds with his tale-spinning father Finney, who's been telling fantastic stories about himself all his life. Now, after three years, Crudup returns home with his pregnant wife, trying to come to terms with his father, who's dying of cancer. In flashbacks, we are told the fantastic stories that Finney insists are true, with McGregor playing the younger Finney. Outstanding fantasy based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, weaves a world of awe and wonder, much less dark and brooding than we are used to from Burton, but with performances so great and a mood so consistent, this is more than welcome. There's even a touch of Coen to detect. Fine score by Danny Elfman, excellent cinematography by Philippe Rousselot. Trivia note: The man playing the Banjo tune from DELIVERANCE (1972) is the boy from that movie!


© Ron Altman