Sweeney Todd Edit

Film Musical (2007).
Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim, Book: Hugh Wheeler, Screenplay: John Loagn, Director: Tim Burton, Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman.


Deported by wicked Judge Turpin for a crime he did not commit, Sweeney Todd returns to wreak revenge on his enemies.


Based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim, this film adaptation by director Tim Burton have re-teamed his virtual cast from Corpse Bride with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the lead roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett, complete with pale skin and a gothic wardrobe. They are no strangers to Burton, with Depp having collaborated with Burton since the days of Edward Scissorhands, which puts him in good stead as he now wields the barber blades, and 5 more films thereafter. Together Depp and Carter share the familiar chemistry already established, and chew up scenes especially when they sing their duets. You will feel somewhat sad for Mrs Lovett as she pines for Todd's love, which isn't forthcoming as he is so obsessed with trying to find an opportunity to get close enough to Judge Turpin and exact his revenge.
Everyone loves Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp for the quirky roles he plays. Everyone loves Oscar-nominated director Tim Burton for the uniquely interesting movies he makes. So when the two come together for the sixth time for a movie musical based on a hit Broadway musical, you can be sure that nearly everyone will love it as well. This time, the sure-win combination of the director-actor brings us to a world so sinister and dark, you may just feel chills running down your spine before clapping your hands in glee at the well-made movie.
Depp puts away Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate hat to play Sweeney Todd, the “Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, who has returned to London after being locked up for a crime he did not commit. With nothing but revenge on his mind, he goes on an insane killing rampage with aid from pie-maker Mrs. Lovett.
Hairspray and High School Musical this is not, so do not expect cheery tunes to liven up your evening. Instead, Depp sorrowfully sings that razors are “my friends” before proudly holding one in the air and proclaiming that “my arm is complete again”. He also angrily sings that “we all deserve to die” before slicing open his customers’ throats. Meanwhile, Carter sings that she makes “the worst pies in London” in a disgusting yet amusing introduction, and that she wishes to live with the serial killer “by the sea” during the 117-minute movie’s most tackily colorful and delightfully bizarre music sequence.
While not all songs from Stephen Sondheim’s original musical are featured in the movie, they are engaging enough to keep you entertained throughout. There are even some touching moments amplified by the song’s dramatic music arrangement and lyrics. You may just feel the protagonists’ pain and anguish, if you are adaptable to the over-the-top and drastic emotional ups and downs of the characters
The movie is shrouded in a dark hue of grey, which is nicely contrasted with the poor victims’ richly colored red blood. The signature peculiar yet wacky feel is Burton’s signature, and this distinctive look has earned the movie a nomination in the best art direction category, together with two other nominations in the best costume design and best actor categories. While we reckon that the Academy isn’t ready to award Depp for this oddball role (he’d probably take home that golden statuette after a few more nominations), his performance is still an enjoyable one (come to think of it, when has anyone not enjoyed his performances?) Besides, he has already clinched the Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) trophy at the recent Golden Globes – that’s recognition for a start.
Also, watch out for funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen as a rival barber. The talented comedian-actor shows us that he is as brilliant even he only shows up for a couple of minutes. Known for his alter egos Borat and Ali G, the Englishman is a scene-stealer in this movie – you will chuckle in hilarity whenever he appears on screen with his puffy poodle hairdo and his ridiculously comical moustache.
Those with weak stomachs may not like the way violence is used in this movie, but fans will tell you it is just another form of art. Besides, the movie boasts of Depp and Burton – how can anyone not love it?


Official Trailer
Mr Black Movie Review


James Berardinelli
Roger Ebert

Reviewed by John Li, reproduced from MoviExclusive with permission.

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