Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Christopher Lee, Christopher Walken
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker, Kevin Yagher, based on the story by Washington Irving
Directed by: Tim Burton
MPAA Rating: R for graphic horror violence and gore, and for a scene of sexuality
Running Time: 105
Date: 11/17/1999

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Crane Shots

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Tim Burton's sense of the bizarre and his identification with outsiders make Sleepy Hollow a fun and slightly campy event. Based on the 1820 story by Washington Irving, this movie stars Johnny Depp who embodies Ichabod Crane. Sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken), Ichabod falls in love with Katrina Van Tassel, played by Christina Ricci, who seems as if she was born to play in a Tim Burton movie. The screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker and Kevin Yagher (with uncredited help from Tom Stoppard) comes to pieces in the last 20 minutes or so, but Burton's driving force pulls Sleepy Hollow out of the pits of hell. His vision of the ominous woods, the shadowy town, and its pale inhabitants give the film texture and bring it to life. Sleepy Hollow is lesser Burton, but that didn't stop Batman (1989) from becoming a huge success.

DVD Details: Paramount's DVD comes with a director commentary track, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a photo gallery, cast and crew interviews, trailers and selected biographies. I've seen the film again since this review, and I find it holds up better than I would have guessed.

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