Cast: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianna Wiest, Alan Arkin and Vincent Price
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson
There may be no better treatment for distracting yourself from the uncertainty of the outside world than huddling round one evening and losing yourself in the ludicrous world of Tim Burton’s 1990 release, ‘Edward Scissorhands.’ For Edward – the shy invention of a scientist who wondered what would be the result of creating a human with scissors for hands – it isn’t his Gothic castle or any of the dark clouds which swarm it that scare him, it’s the swarm of white-picket-fence Americans that unfold around the foothills of his home.
In the title role of ‘Edward Scissorhands,’ Johnny Depp becomes completely unrecognisable from his usual quick-witted and charming roles. Hidden by a shock of black hair, the protagonist can’t help but stand out in the pastel-themed suburb that he is brought into by the overly-affectionate saleswoman, Peg (Dianne Wiest). Tim Burton clearly ensured that his set and costume designers put great emphasis on the contrasts between the two worlds that, until previously, appeared to co-exist without much notice of one another. The blind ignorance towards the Gothic mountain-topping castle that lies in the middle of a classic 50’s American suburb only adds to the satirical nature of this film, with much of the humour deriving from this strange combination.
Although much of the humour comes from the explicitly-different set design, the way Burton includes small touches to every scene not only develops the humour, but also involves deeper themes on what it is to live in such a community. Whether it be the lights of the husbands cars coming back from work signalling time for the housewives to run home after spying on Edward, or Allan Arkin’s hilariously deadpan delivery as the father of the family that takes Edward in, speaking about moral values and decency in a way that re-iterates just how oblivious he is to what is really going on around him.
In ‘Edward Scissorhands,’ it feels like we know exactly what each character is like, and can relate them to someone in our own lives who would say the same things and act in the same way as they do. We understand how they might act in each situation, and why they do, and as a result, we feel truly invested in how the narrative plays out. As the tension builds in the final act, the audience is completely invested in what will happen to each character because of how we feel as if we know them personally, which elevates the film to something with an emotional impact, rather than just a wacky comedy.
Tim Burton’s classic film is a great light-hearted and family friendly watch that is perfect for sticking on if all the family are at home together. ‘Edward Scissorhands’ serves as a brilliant couple hours of entertainment – exactly what you might need these days.