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Big Fish

An Adventure As Big As Life Itself 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Big Fish

Tim Burton is one of the few visionary auteurs who is still thriving within the parameters of the Hollywood studio system, no doubt due to the fact that his unique world vision usually means big bucks for the man behind the desk. Happily, though, with Big Fish, Burton has resisted the pandering displayed in his underrated, though distinctly below-par Planet of the Apes remake, and has fashioned a beautiful, lyrical and deeply moving tale of love, loss, family and the great human art of story-telling, and as such has perhaps created his greatest cinematic triumph – something truly Burtonesque.

Will Bloom is tired of the ridiculous stories told by his aging father, and after cutting off direct contact for several years he returns to his father’s deathbed to try and finally piece together the truth of his life. But, of course, the truth is a notoriously subjective and slippery thing, and fact and fiction seems to blur as we see Ed’s past life through his own eyes, taking in tales of giants, murderous trees, the saddest town in the world, parachute raids on Vietnam, deep and abiding friendship, and most importantly, true love.

And it is this love that pushes Big Fish into a league of its own – Burton’s love for gorgeous visuals, the characters’ love for one another, and our love for a story that makes us remember the beautiful things in life. As Will’s voyage of discovery moves towards its emotional and uplifting end, it’s impossible not to be moved as everything harmonises in a unique and tearful symphony – the music, the imagery, the acting (Ewan McGregor is perfect), the gentle, unobtrusive direction and the sense that this really is a one-of-a-kind movie.

Big Fish is absolutely one of those films that has to be seen on the big screen – its scope as wide reaching as a man’s dreams. As close to flawless as a big budget Hollywood film can be, it would be tantamount to a crime to refuse to be seduced by one of the most beautiful films to grace the screens in some time. Don’t let it get away…

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)