21 October 2004 | MovieAddict2016
Burton's Best -- and Most Emotionally Touching.
Tim Burton is a brilliant visual director but with Edward Scissorhands he managed to combine these talents with pure, classic storytelling Scissorhands is his best overall film, abandoning the slight characterizations and special effects-driven spectacle of the (albeit hugely enjoyable) Batman and serving up a convincingly detailed left-of-center fairytale romance.
The story is fairly basic, being the standard Frankenstein-esque tale of alienation and the empowerment of love. Edward (Johnny Depp) is a lonely man with scissors for hands, crafted by an eccentric inventor (magnificently played by Vincent Price in flashbacks) prior to his death. After Edward witnesses the death of his creator he stays locked away inside his mansion all day, which is located atop the otherwise cheerfully picture-perfect local neighborhood community.
Then one day a nosy neighbor decides to investigate, and ends up bringing Edward to reality. He falls in love with a local girl (Winona Ryder), and is witness first-hand to the joys of life, until accidentally injuring a young boy and becoming the enemy of the overzealous town. Soon everyone is out to get him for no good reason the climax is beautifully done and, because Burton has allowed his characters to expand so much, it's also very touching.
The movie is decidedly odd but in a good way the only problem is that it is occasionally quite thin when it comes to actual depth. Burton's never been as good at telling believable stories as he has mythical, exciting fables (see Sleepy Hollow for a similar example). Even Burton's Big Fish arguably his most story-oriented film of his career was somewhat shady. The mix of screwball dark comedy, horror, drama, romance and elements and familiar happenings of other genres results in a very different combination. You can literally "feel" the vibe of this picture, its heart pulsing black blood.
The movie was a childhood project of Burton, who drew sketches of Edward as a boy and used to alienate himself from his hostile surroundings by taking refuge in fictional stories involving the scissor-handed hero. As a result Burton's true affinity for the subject is evident it's clear that he takes this entire project very seriously.
The acting is marvelous Depp's performance is one of his finest and, arguably, one of the most convincing and fun of all-time. Depp has formed a Scorsese/De Niro-like companionship with Burton over the years, teaming up for various pictures (including Sleepy Hollow and the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). He's always had fun relishing his over-the-top and absurdly dark roles, such as Ichabod Crane in particular. In Scissorhands he gives the equivalent of a Travis Bickle a man who feels shunned by society, only to open his heart and have it feel crushed again. This is possibly one of the reasons the film is able to affect its audience so well to this very day. The tale does not grow old because the values are timeless.
Edward Scissorhands, despite its occasional flaws, finally gave Burton the chance to unleash his talents as a visual filmmaker along with a pretty solid story mold the result being a sublimely dark rom-com-drama that never conforms to the typical genre clichés and becomes quite a unique film in its own little world.