review by David G.
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher
Walken, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van
Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker based upon the story
by Washington Irving
Directed by Tim Burton
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Theatrical Trailers, Featurette, Interviews,
Photo Gallery, Cast and Crew Bios, Commentary with Tim
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby
Digital English, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby
Surround, English Captions, Chapter Search
In the last year of the 19th century, in New-York, the
eccentric inspector Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent to a
small town called Sleepy Hollow to resolve murders
apparently committed by a mysterious headless horseman.
Of course, Crane has to use his head to try to find a
rational explanation to these murders and fight against the
inhabitant's superstition with the help of the young Masbath
(Marc Pickering) and Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci)
During his investigation, he will discover hidden secrets
and, although his cartesian mind, the horrible truth and
Tim Burton, since his first film (Pee Wee's Big
adventure) managed to create his own world, immediately
identifiable, something burlesque, poetic, bizarre, ironic,
dark with a strong sense of dark humor and often touching.
His masterpieces are Beetlejuice, Batman I & II, Edward
Scissorhand, Mars Attacks, Ed Wood, The Nightmare Before
Christmas (as story designer and producer), in fact, all his
movies are masterpieces. (Editor's Note: I'm not so
sure about "Mars Attacks!"). Very few directors could be
proud of such a career.
Sleepy Hollow, his latest movie, is a tribute to all
these old horror movies from Hammer film (the Draculas with
Christopher Lee) and from Mario Bava (Demon's Mask, Danger :
Diabolik), but definitely more visually stupefying : Sleepy
Hollow is maybe the most beautiful horror movie ever made.
The terrible secret in which everyone seems to be involved
makes us to think of Twin Peaks.
The photography of Emmanuel Lubezki (Great expectations,
Meet Joe Black) is astonishing, all seem near black and
white except the red of the blood which is very impressive.
All the actors are perfect, especially Johnny Depp (best
Depp's roles are with Burton) and Christina Ricci (The
Addams Family) whose beauty lights the screen up. A special
mention has to be given to Chistopher Walken (The Deer
Hunter), his character has no dialogue but you will never
So it's a dark, scary, bloody (several heads are lopped
off), and funny movie but not dumb. The Crane's grimaces are
hilarious and his aptitude to try to find a explanation to
everything is also funny and makes a contrast between him
and the headless horseman, In effect, Crane likes to use his
head (even it's often useless) whereas the horseman has no
one so he can not think very much.
The poetic touch although it's a dark poetic touch is
brought by the Crane's dreams : His mother's desires make us
to think at Edward Scissorhand.
The only reproach I can make against Sleepy Hollow, is a
certain lack of development of the secondary characters like
Brom Van Brunt (Casper Van Dien), the suitor of Katrina Van
The movie is presented in a widescreen version enhanced
for 16/9. The transfert is simply perfect, and is an homage
to the complex photography of Emmanuel Lubezki. The dark is
dark and give great depth to the picture.
Here too, the perfection is reached, before you watch
this DVD in 5.1, don't forget to warn your neighbors or you
will be hated by them forever (Editor's Note: Not a
Guarentee). You can feel the horses running and jumping, the
swords sounds are metallic and precise and the heads fall on
the floor with the benediction of your subwoofer.
The English and French Dolby Surround tracks are good but
less evoking than the 5.1.
The DVD menus are basic, but the disc itself is rich in
special features. There is theatrical trailer and a teaser
trailer, a 30 minutes featurette called "Behind the Legend",
interviews with cast and crews, and the icing on the cake:
the commentary with Tim Burton himself. All of these bonus
materials are very interesting but we can feel that Tim
Burton is uncomfortable. There is too much silence whereas
such a film must have quantities of anecdotes to be told. We
can also find a photo gallery which is beautiful but too
small and a selected cast biography.
I am always excited when a new Tim Burton's movie is
announced, this one didn't fail on its duty. It's an amazing
picture book, an awaken dream. Tim Burton reaches here the
top of his art, it's dark, cruel, poetic, funny but always
beautiful. I would recommend this DVD to all who have kept
their childhood eyes and imagination.
(4.5/5, NOT included in
(4.5/5, NOT an average)