Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder
| Directed By :
Sometimes a movie comes along that's so messed up that you
really have no other question than what the heck the writers
were thinking. I can imagine this bad boy being pitched: Okay,
I got it . . . a guy with scissors for hands tries to adjust
to North American suburbia!
Not exactly a winner, but believe me, this is as weird as
it sounds. Johnny Depp plays Edward, a young man who was built
by a crazy old recluse who lived in a castle, but the crazy
old recluse died before he could give Edward hands. Edward's
temporary hands were, for no apparent reason, scissors, but
now he's stuck with them, has a scarred complexion, and the
social skills of his former master. Along comes the Avon lady,
who takes it upon herself to rehabilitate Edward into society.
Problem? He's a freak. There's really no getting around it.
Tim Burton filmed this, so it's as twisted as he is, and
that's where the comedy begins. The castle is dark, practically
black and white, and creepy as The House on Haunted Hill.
Suburbia, on the other hand, is made up of rainbow colored
cars and houses, and the sky is always, always blue. Always.
The difference is extraordinary. The people have barbecues,
and gossip the moment they see the Avon lady with a man other
than her husband. It's really just funny to watch.
The social commentary and satire is obvious. Edward is an
outcast, but he's so polite and likable that it becomes clear
that he's really not the odd man out here. Everybody else
is. Proof positive that sometimes the freaks are the freaks
because we make them. Quite a message.
The rest of the humor is practically given to Tim Burton.
Edward has scissors for hands, so they accidentally give him
their daughter's bed. It's a water bed. Still, this movie
could have been as boring or as stupid as imaginable if it
weren't for Tim Burton's weird direction. His insistence on
making it bright and happy one moment then dark and creepy
(while still bright and happy on the inside) the next is a
testament to his ability to make you wonder what he's been
smoking. This is why I respect him as a director.
Edward is such a lovable twerp that, as he gets manipulated
by the people, and makes tiny social mistakes on his own,
you can't help but feel sorry for him. There were times when
I wanted to reach out to the screen and hug him, but didn't
mainly because it wasn't possible, and, like, he had scissors
for hands. He'd cut me up something fierce.
This is by no means an Oscar-worthy movie. But it doesn't
try to be. It's just a weird story about a guy with scissors
for hands trying to fit in. Isn't there a little of that in
all of us?