A couple a days ago I was talking with a friend of mine about favorite movies. My personal favorite is Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. I remember that when it was released in 1999, I saw it like 6 times when it was playing in the movie theaters (only paid for 2 tickets since back then I had a really close friend working at the movie theater). But where does my fascination with the movie come from?

First of all the Story itself – it’s based on a children’s novel by Washington Irving – the quest for the legendary headless horseman that suspiciously kills Sleepy Hollow’s inhabitants. This story manages to gather all the main plot genres (horror, mystery, adventure, fantasy, romance, action, comedy) in the most perfect and appealing screenplay I had ever seen.

The Scenario – Tim Burton once again proved his genius and managed to create the most magical scenario to help deliver this horror tale.

The Actors – the cast was brilliant: Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Christopher Walken, Jeffrey Jones, Christopher Lee and of course the leading man Jonhy Depp. Definitely one of his best performances, he was just hilarious!

Last but not least the MESSAGE behind the story: although the movie is held on a fantasy environment, the characters dramas and the lessons they learn along the way fit perfectly into our reality.

We’re presented with 2 different realities and mindsets: the backward thinking of Sleepy Hollow’s citizens that believe in witchcraft, “ghouls and goblins” and the forward mind of New York’s Constable Crane, a science man that believes in nothing but “sense and reason, cause and consequence“. The arrival of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow to investigate the mysterious murders by the Headless Horseman, generates a conflict between these 2 mindsets: sense and reason don’t seem to work in the backward town and Ichabod is forced to consider that there might be some things that go beyond our common understanding. As he unveils the mystery, he gets to know 2 lovely characters, Katrina and young Masbath, and his science is put to the test. The empirical knowledge from Sleepy Hollow’s citizens and the common understanding based on appearances are also put to the test: the citizens start to believe that the “scientific props” and theories might help them solve this dark mystery.

Well… I will not tell you how the movie ends (although I love to be a spoiler), but I can tell you that both parts learn their lesson through an equilibrium of forces.

Sense and reason are in fact the primary tools of evolution and knowledge, but life not always obeys those laws. There are things that happen without sense or reason, that go beyond our ability to understand what surrounds us and we must always be prepared to accept them and not be blinded by reason. As for empirical knowledge and appearances, well we all know how vicious appearances can be… “It is truth, but truth is not always appearance

“Are you so certain of everything?”


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