Director Tim Burton took a breather after Batman with this personal effort, perhaps the cinema’s most enchanting parable about the misunderstood and alienated artist. The title character, played by Johnny Depp, is the nearly completed creation of an inventor (Vincent Price) who lives in a castle perched atop a cookie-cutter subdivision. When the inventor suddenly dies, Edward is left to fend for himself in suburbia, where friendly fascination over his shrub-pruning and dog-grooming appendages eventually gives way to frightened hysteria. Stan Winston was credited with the makeup and scissor effects and both are instrumental in creating a moving, tragicomic character. The moment he emerges from the shadows we notice that Edward has mournful scars criss-crossing his face. Later, during a comic dinnertime battle with a single pea, we get an idea of how the marks got there. Depp may be one of the few actors who could have made this work. He gives a silent-movie performance, relying on his movements to communicate everything that is needed. Depp and Burton make Edward Scissorhands a tribute to any artsy kid who ever slammed their bedroom door shut and furiously scribbled away on a sketch pad. It confirmed Burton as a mad scribbler made good.
Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg goes to Hollywood