Movie Review: Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd

I finally got to see this flick last Friday. This movie is a masterpiece in many ways. The genius of Tim Burton comes through in his dark and morbid sets, and smooth transitions from scene to scene. The faint hearted, those who are petrified by murder and those repulsed by the sight of crimson red or Cannibalism and those that like happy endings are warned. This movie is NOT for you.

The music of the movie is haunting and sticks with you for a while. The movie is gripping from start to finish, give or take a few annoying moments which feature a love sick teen singing "I feel you Joanna..". This was the only member of the cast that stood out like a sore thumb.

The performances from Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp are spectacular. (Yes, in that order).

The movie can best be described as Broadway musical/slasher flick/ dark comedy.It is a tale of love, revenge and betrayal. An innocent barber(Depp), is on a trail of bloody revenge after a cruel judge(Alan Rickman) destroys his family. The barber forges an unholy alliance with a Mrs. Lovett, ably portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter. Together the two unleash a vicious scheme of
bloody revenge. The twist at the end will simply lead you breathless.

Depp continues to choose offbeat roles and thrive on producing great performances in each of them. These include Edward Scissorhands, his roles in the Pirates flicks and the forgotten, yet memorable 'Secret Window'. Combining with Burton yet again, he has produced a winner. In Sweeney Todd, Depp displays even more versatility with his singing.

Helena Bonham Carter provides excellent support for Depp. In many scenes I would argue that she even surpasses Depp. She portrays Mrs. Lovett, an epitome of pure evil. While Todd is motivated by vengeance, Lovett seeks to keep Todd twisted around her finger and hatch diabolical schemes to suit her selfish whims.

The supporting cast includes Alan Rickman, the memorable villain from the Robin Hood and Die Hard movies, and Sasha Cohen of Borat fame who also present great performances. Then there is the judge's sleazy rodent-like assistant who provides another great performance. This is as close to perfection that a movie can attain. I expect Sweeney Todd to make a clean sweep at the Globes and the Oscars.

So where does Burton go from here? Personally I'd like to see him make Macbeth for the big screen and even reuse the same pair Depp and Carter for the roles of the protagonists Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth. The story and the script are tailor made for Burton as they feature witches brew, magic and ghosts. Depp would make a great Macbeth. I can picture Helena Bonham Carter doing the Lady Macbeth soliloquy.

The storybook scenes and sets in Sweeney Todd reminded me of two other great movies, Sin City and 300. However, the elegant Broadway touch Burton puts into Sweeney Todd places this movie one step beyond both Sin City and 300.

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