Johnny be good

Di­rec­tor: Tim Bur­ton ( Alice in Won­der­land) Stars: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeif­fer, Chloe Moretz, Gul­liver Mcgrath, Bella Heath­cote Depp gets it right in in­con­sis­tent light

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies -

THE works of film­maker Tim Bur­ton have tra­di­tion­ally been dis­con­nected from re­al­ity. Au­di­ences don’t just ex­pect it of him, they de­mand it.

How­ever, with Dark Shad­ows, an er­ratic mish- mash of hor­ror, com­edy and camp pe­riod satire, Bur­ton de­liv­ers less than even his most ar­dent fol­low­ers might have bar­gained for.

Sure, Bur­ton’s knack for weld­ing the weird and the way- out to the creative and in­no­va­tive is still very much in ev­i­dence here. And long- time col­lab­o­ra­tor Johnny Depp is in fine form in front of the cam­eras.

But the movie never threat­ens to come to­gether as a co­he­sive whole when the pres­sure to en­ter­tain is re­ally on.

Depp stars as Barn­abas Collins, a vampire who was buried alive in the 18th cen­tury by a witchy wronged lover named An­gelique ( Eva Green).

When Barn­abas is fi­nally busted loose from his cof­fin, it is 1972. Mak­ing tracks im­me­di­ately for his an­ces­tral home – now oc­cu­pied by a band of dys­func­tional dis­tant rel­a­tives ( played by Michelle Pfeif­fer, Chloe Moretz and young Aus­tralian new­com­ers Bella Heath­cote and Gul­liver Mcgrath) – our un­dead hero sets about get­ting him­self a life.

Com­pli­ca­tions sur­face ev­ery­where Barn­abas turns. Af­ter 200 years with­out blood, he is un­der­stand­ably thirsty.

Though he’s enough of a gentleman to apol­o­gise be­fore help­ing him­self to your neck, he will vi­ciously kill you all the same ( as a gang of con­struc­tion work­ers and a group of hip­pie stoners will later dis­cover).

And An­gelique is very much alive and well, run­ning the big­gest busi­ness in town. She hopes Barn­abas might have learnt his les­son, and will suc­cumb to her charms again. If not, she’ll bury him once more.

Depp does ev­ery­thing he can to drag Dark Shad­ows into the light. His tim­ing and de­liv­ery is bril­liant through­out, and his on­go­ing baf­fle­ment at all things 1970s is the best thing about the picture.

As with all Tim Bur­ton af­fairs, the pro­duc­tion de­sign is a work of art in it­self, and the use of AM ra­dio hits of the era ( and a sur­prise live ap­pear­ance by Alice Cooper) also pays its way.

Nev­er­the­less, there is some­thing about Dark Shad­ows that just doesn’t feel right.

You can sense that Bur­ton knows it, too. It is un­doubt­edly the most un­cer­tain movie of his ca­reer, of­ten check­ing, cor­rect­ing and con­tra­dict­ing it­self.

The sto­ry­telling is very scrappy. Key sup­port­ing char­ac­ters go miss­ing in ac­tion for long pe­ri­ods. When they do re­turn, their rel­e­vance to the tale is slight at best.

There is also a kinky streak to a hand­ful of scenes that fur­ther scram­ble Dark Shad­ows’ true in­ten­tions.

The source ma­te­rial, an ob­scure TV se­ries more than four decades old, is un­doubt­edly the ma­jor prob­lem.

Bur­ton is clearly a ra­bid fan, but that en­thu­si­asm of­ten comes off as an in- joke with a cryp­tic punch­line. The viewer is kept on the outer, none the wiser about what’s so funny. LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.