BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY Sleepy Hollow★★★★ 9.00-11.10pm E4
An interesting take by Tim Burton on Washington Irving’s creepy tale of horror — “interesting” being another way of saying that, while there’s much to commend it, the film doesn’t entirely work. Burton’s frequent collaborator Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a New York policeman with forensic ideas ahead of his time who, in 1799, is sent to the hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate the brutal decapitation of several victims. Everyone there knows who the killer is — a headless Hessian mercenary who roams the neighbourhood, killing people and searching for his missing bonce. Depp, slightly camp, slightly English-sounding, doesn’t believe in the undead, thinks there’s a conspiracy afoot and looks for a living culprit. Burton handles the shock Hammer-type horror and general atmosphere very well, but a romance between Depp and Christina Ricci is unconvincing as is the denouement. Still, it’s entertaining and elegantly done, Depp is impressive and a strong supporting cast includes Christopher Walken, Martin Landau, Michael Gambon and Richard Griffiths.
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