Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street A+
Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman
Directed by Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Rated R for graphic bloody violence
Appropriate for ages 15+
The Story: A barber named Sweeney Todd (Depp) returns to London many years after being wrongfully imprisoned by an evil judge (Rickman) who wanted to take advantage of Sweeney’s beautiful young wife. Upon his return he has vowed to get his revenge on the judge, but in the meantime he kills off his customers and Mrs. Lovett (Carter), the owner of the shop below turns their bodies into meat pies. Oh yeah – and it’s a dark musical comedy.
The Good: If you are a big musical theater fan then you are already well aware of this production and are probably fond of the Broadway show starring George Hearn and Angela Lansbury. But even if you are not familiar with this famous show, you are still in for a treat. Tim Burton has created here a masterpiece that will go down as a musical classic. The orchestrations are fabulous and the music is well performed by most of the cast, but the look of the film is the key. Burton is really on his game here and could find himself giving many acceptance speeches this award season.
The Bad: The singers aren’t as strong as they could have been, although this doesn’t hurt the film badly. While Helena Bonham Carter doesn’t have the powerhouse voice I would have liked, her look and acting ability get her through ok. Also, the actors playing Johanna and Anthony aren’t voiced by brilliant singers, but that might have been on purpose so as not to make Depp, Carter and Rickman seem out of place. That being said, the voices and performances of Toby (Ed Sanders) and Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen) steal the show.
I do think a warning should be placed that this is a very violent film with tons of blood. If the cannibalistic description of the pic doesn’t make you squeamish then you will probably be more than fine.
The Summary: Sweeney Todd has been my favorite stage musical for years. Now it is my favorite film of 2007.