Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Directed by Tim Burton.
2007. Rated R, 117 minutes.
Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham Carter
Timothy Spall
Alan Rickman
Sacha Baron Cohen
Jamie Bower Campbell
Jayne Wisener
Laura Michelle Kelly

Plot: When he returns home to London, Sweeney Todd (Depp) vows vengeance upon the judge who not only had him wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years but has apparently also caused the death of his wife and stolen his daughter.

The Good: This is probably the bloodiest and most morbid musical ever. Yes, sometimes I like my movies bloody and morbid. It also manages to be very darkly funny. The songs serve to add to its twisted sense of humor more than anything else. This makes it a musical for people who generally don’t like musicals, are a bit cynical and don’t mind a gore-fest. In short, it’s exactly what you think a live-action musical directed by Tim Burton would be. Remember, this is the same guy behind Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Of course, his direction is terrifically executed by the two actors he seems to trust most, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. They continue to be perfect manifestations of his gothic vision.

The Bad: The actual singing is perfunctory at best. Let’s be honest, I don’t know if there’s one person in the cast who would get invited to Hollywood on "American Idol". If you’re looking for powerhouse ballads, show-stopping vocals or Broadway style numbers that light up the screen skip this and pop in Dreamgirls or Chicago.

The Ugly: What’s in the meat pies, both early and late in the movie.

Recommendation: If you fit the description I gave above: cynical, twisted sense of humor, likes gore, then this is the musical for you. Obviously, if you’re a fan of Tim Burton it’s right up your alley. Steer clear if you equate musicals to Julie Andrews, Beyonce, or Disney.

MY SCORE: 8.5/10

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