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Sleepy Hollow

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 12/13/99 22:50:51

"Oh please. Not Christopher Walken again"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

No matter how much makeup you put on him or what words you give him to speak, Christopher Walken always plays the same damn character. Obviously, he really likes playing the role of the demon possessed or the insane; or is he just typecast as such? Who knows. More importantly, who cares. I'm glad his head only appeared for a total of 5 minutes of the whole film. One more minute and my own head woulda rolled.

In spite of the monkey-brained reasoning behind Walken's casting (I know, the man has to eat), the entire cast bought into their parts. Depp was a bit cartoonish and Ricci didn't always seem to be her character but those moments probably passed by too quickly for most people to notice. But that's Burton for you. Just when you think you are seeing something correctly, he tweaks the frame a little bit. It might have been lapses in the actors or it might have been an intentional stylistic flourish. Or I might be smoking too much crack.

Ichabod Crane, played by Johnny Depp, is called to the village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders by a headless horseman. Along the way he falls in like with benevelont witch, Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci making a comeback to her theatrical roots as Wednesday Addams). Katrina is a local of Sleepy Hollow and the only person unafraid to accompany him on his investigation.

The women wear such beautiful clothes for being humble villagers. I think the idea is that the characters in the film are landowners and make their money by charging rent to farmers and their families. Hence, no dirt under the fingernails and opulent clothes.

The audience gets all the juice in this masterwork of gothic fiction. No shoddy backgrounds or cheap gimmicks. This is big budget stuff all the way and it pays off.

Burton loves to play with his gothic sensibility. From the arcane medical instruments to the old women in the woods, this movie drips with darkness and forboding. He creates yet another Gothic tale with all its attendant visual splendor and weaves it around an effective Who Done It based on Washington Irving's classic horror story.

Typically Burton. So technically proficient you can't even see the smoke machines.

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