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Sleepy Hollow

Year: 1999
Studio: Paramount
Director: Tim Burton
Producer: Scott Rudin
Writer: Washington Irving/Kevin Yagher/Andrew Kevin Walker
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Caspar Van Dien, Richard Griffiths, Ian McDiarmid, Ray Park, Christopher Walkan, Michael Gough, Christopher Lee, Lisa Marie

Batman part 3. Sorry, Edward Scissorhands, the retirement years.

The only thing I'm sure of is that it isn't Big Fish. Other than those two films all Tim Burton's work looks the same after awhile, to the extent that these days I ask myself if he can even do anything different with different actors. I'm not the least bit interested in Disney's upcoming Alice in Wonderland update.

Twisted, dead tree trunks? Check. Gothic architecture? Check. Johnny Depp in the lead role as a bumbling man-boy? Check. The only thing it's missing is Burton current squeeze Bonham Carter, who wasn't on the scene when he made this film and who surely would have elbowed Christina Ricci firmly aside.

To be fair, the story of Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman - with its misty nights, macabre subject matter, dark style and the comic/horror aesthetic implicit in the text - is tailor made for Burton's directorial eye.

But that's also the problem. He picks projects that are tailor made for him and does more or less the same thing with all of them purely because they're tailor made. In hindsight, he was born to direct this film, Sweeney Todd and the rest. Is that a good thing or does it just show a filmmaker with little scope?

Ichabod Crane is a cowardly policeman sent to the rural town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a spate of beheadings attributed to a ghost said to haunt the area, and when he realises not only that the mythical apparition is real but that he's in love with town patriarch's daughter, his work is cut out for him.

It's vintage Burton, and while this review might convince you I didn't like it, my only complaint is with his range. What Burton does he does very well, so it's entertaining and it looks, feels and sounds great.

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