Top 5… Tim Burton films

The latest film from the darkly gothic Tim Burton Dark Shadows is now out and that seems like a good prompt to list my top 5 films from the wacky director.

5. Alice in Wonderland

No masterpiece but surprisingly better than I was expecting. The retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale fits Burton’s style and Mia Wasikowska is a revelation and one to watch for years to come.

4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Musicals are a rarity these days so when one comes out it is good to pay attention. Especially when it is directed by Burton, stars Depp and is about a barber who slits people’s throats and cooks them in pies!

Bloody, gruesome, funny and unusual. A must see for anyone with the stomach for it!

3. Batman

Before Nolan made Batman dark and brooding, Burton had done a similar thing only with his trademark gothic feel and a little more campness. Keaton is fantastic but it is Nicholson hamming it up as The Joker who really steals the show.

2. Sleepy Hollow

It’s Depp again in a beautifully haunting tale of the headless horseman. Burton perfectly captures the atmosphere and terror of a small village under siege from a ghostly killer. Burton manages to make it scary, intriguing and actually quite complex as Depp’s detective attempts to uncover the mystery.

1. Edward Scissorhands

It’s interesting that despite Burton and Depp collaborating on 8 films over the years, it is their first together that is still their best. Playing the unfinished creation who was left with scissors for hands, Depp is a mournful and sad character who finds it so hard to adjust to the normal world when he is discovered by Dianne Wiest. But it is the beautiful love story between him and Winona Ryder that catches the attention alongside Burton’s storytelling ability and now familiar visual style.

Honourable Mentions

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas – Not actually directed by Burton but too good not to mention here somewhere!
  • Beetlejuice – A film that would have appeared in the top 5 for sure if only I had seen again since I was a kid. Funny, frightening and Keaton’s best film.
  • Ed Wood – Another superb film that I haven’t seen recently enough to judge fairly.
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