Comparison of the characters in "Sleepy Hollow"
From here, Burton depicts the spectrum of rationality and irrationality in what is true. Truth is both irrational and rational, wherein Burton uses sound, lighting, shadows, camera angles and shots, mise-en-scene, and characters to show that people should go beyond appearance and balance rational and supernatural beliefs because they lead to open-mindedness and critical thinking that are essential in finding the truth. Conflicts between appearance and substance are depicted through sounds, as they increase suspense over the mystery of the town and its characters. Diegetic sounds explore the contest between what is and what is not. The signing of the will should signify calmness because of the preparation for the future, and yet the music that plays diegetically produces a suspenseful mood, which serves as the foreshadowing of the horror genre of the story. In the scene where Van Garrett (Dirk Van Garrett) runs for his life, the music becomes more upbeat, as if he would escape, but he does not. The music contrasts with what is happening to the plot to enhance the viewers’ anticipation. Non-diegetic sounds further amplify the difference between substance and appearance. Van Garrett tries to evade the Horseman, and the bristles of the corn stalks can be seen. These sounds are natural, but the plot is about the supernatural. Thunder cuts in to show the appearance of the pumpkin scarecrow. This sound breaks off the natural from the supernatural. It prepares the audience for the real horror ahead, the slashing of Van Garrett’s head. Another example is the hooting of the owl, right after the scene where Ichabod reveals to Baltus Van Tassel’s (Michael Gambon) group that Widow Winship (Layla Alexander) is pregnant. The owl’s sounds indicate that Ichabod is increasing his knowledge, but it is also a sarcastic sound, because of the little he knows. These sounds support the differences between what is real and what is not. Aside from sounds, camera angles and shots portray the disparities between appearance and substance. Camera angles of characters depict their personalities and motives. When Ichabod urges the Burgomaster (Christopher Lee) to shift their archaic means of resolving crimes to scientific methods, the camera shows the latter in an eye level angle, illustrating him as an equal to his viewers. The angle indicates that he sees every accused as equal too, until a scientific criminal investigation proves otherwise. On the opposite, the High Constable (Alun Armstrong) and Burgomaster are at low camera angle to depict their high social stature. Their high social positions, however, are deceiving, because they are a shame to their professions. The Burgomaster mocks Ichabod’s scientific means by sending him to a faraway rural county, while the High Constable forces Ichabod to “stand down” from criticizing his management practices (Sleepy Hollow). These shots signify the belief that appearance is not everything. Camera shots are also significant in supporting clashes between realities and lies. Martin Kevorkian believes that Burton’s Ichabod faithfully reflects Irving’s Ichabod through the ironies of the former (28). When Ichabod finishes his post-mortem analysis of Widow Winship’s body, he exclaims to onlookers that they are “dealing with a mad man” (Sleepy Hollow). With blood all over his clothing and face, he looks like a mad man too. The effect is a play on truth and deception, where Ichabod may look mad himself, but he is dedicated on