Sleepy Hollow (1999)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Sleepy Hollow</strong> (1999)

(In theaters, November 1999) Tim Burton is an expert at delivering atmosphere, and it’s that ability that makes Sleepy Hollow such an entertaining film. This supernatural whodunit/thriller might have unpalatable in the hands of lesser talents, but is so well-done here that it’s almost impossible not to like. The acting is uniformly decent, but the direction and cinematography are top-notch. Maybe a bit disappointing in the finale, but even then a worthwhile film.

(Second viewing, On DVD, September 2001) Whatever one might think of elements of the script, it’s really Tim Burton who takes this film from undistinguished B-grade obscurity all the way to A-list goodness. The visual polish of the film is so successful it’s almost scary; you’ll want to see the pretty pictures over and over again. In retrospect, it’s even difficult to imagine the film directed by anyone else, so perfectly does it all mesh together. In comparison, the plot is creaky, with unexplainable deaths and head-scratching moments. Not too creaky, though: The dialogue works well, the story keeps our attention and if nothing else, it’s much better than what you could have expected. The DVD features a few interesting behind-the-scenes glimpses and a strangely featureless commentary by director Tim Burton. Still; this is a movie you can’t help but to like, if only for how gosh-darn wonderful it looks.

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