|Directed by:||Tim Burton|
|Written by:||Andrew Kevin Walker|
|Cast:||Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Casper Van Dien, Christopher Walken, Lisa Marie, Miranda Richardson, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gambon, Michael Gough, Richard Griffiths, Ray Park , Steven Waddington|
Tim Burton films ooze style. His works are routinely some of the most beautifully shot films in the industry today. When you add in the phenomenal talent of Johnny Depp, spectacular effects, and a tight storyline you have a modern horror classic.
The film just screams the word creepy. Charming village with fog banks as far as the eye can see, the eerie, twisted forest, scarecrows, and of course the vaunted horseman. The sets hearken back to the classic films of the 30s and 40s. The windmill set itself is just breathtaking.
Johnny Depp again delivers an incredibly memorable performance. His rendition of Crane is a slightly effiminate, quirky detective with a heart of gold. He brings such charm to the role that it is virtually impossible not to like his character. Ricci was average. Richardson gave a very understated but solid performance. Christoper Walken is brilliant despite the fact he doesn't utter a word. His performance as the horseman/hessian is awesome- those filed teeth are wicked looking. Christopher Lee gets a fun little cameo just for kicks.
The story itself is a nice little twist on the old legend. Having never read the book (yep I'm a lazy bastard) my main exposure to the legend was the animated Disney version. It was nice but it was terrific to see the film get a blood-spouting rendition. The good magic subplot gets a little tiresome at points but it doesn't slow things down much. The love story is underplayed and works because it doesn't become the focal point.
The effects in general are terrific. This is a film where CGI comes through about 90% of the time. The Horseman looks great and the beheadings are slick with a red spurt here and there. There is one scene where you really wonder what they were thinking...it seems to be Mad Marge from "Pee Wees Big Adventure" and it just doesn't fit at all. I'll forgive him because the rest of the film is just so incredible.
I don't like to use the word "classic" freely. I do feel, however, that Burton has made this film into the realm of a modern classic. Repeat viewings do nothing but increase the films viability as a masterpiece.