Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Sweeny Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
This should be sub-titled "There Will Be Blood". Director Tim Burton executes a wonderful screen version of the dark musical with rivers of blood as an extra character. But don't be put off by the excess. It is a terrific film that had me grinning ear to ear, even as Sweeny Todd sliced his victim's throats ear to ear.
Johnny Depp as Sweeny Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett have never been better. They are simply delicious together with a deeply forged chemistry. The majority of dialog in the film is done in song and both Mr. Depp and Ms. Bonham Carter admirably hold their own along with Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Timothy Spall. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, especially Ed Sanders as Toby Ragg.
The production faithfully recreates a dark, dirty England and Mr. Burton's stylized direction fits the grim tale of revenge perfectly. Despite themes of madness, murder and cannibalism, the film is really a lot of fun to watch. Strip away the violence and it really is a love story that works on many levels.
"Sweeny Todd" is a musical like no other and the film version does it's Broadway ancestors proud.