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Saturday, January 26, 2008

The demon barber or Fleet Street - Sweeney Todd: a quick review


Johnny Depp appears to have come full circle - he first rose to stardom as Edward Scissorhands, a character incomplete because of razor-like appendages on the end of his arms instead of hands, and now portrays a man who feels incomplete without a razor in his hands.

As with most Tim Burton creations, this film is set in a world that is obviously not our own, but close enough to it you feel a little uncomfortable laughing at the black humourous content within.

This film you can imagine a Scissorhands who has grown up in an unkind and violent environment. The innocence has all but disappeared, and you are left with an experienced, jaded character intent on revenge.

As usual, Depp throws himself into the role - creating Sweeney Todd into a homicidal psychopath feeling such pain you could nearly empathise with him. As with previous roles, the hair, makeup and false teeth are there, but it is the acting and singing that really create the character.

Mrs Lovett is a role made for Helena Bonham Carter - you could not imagine another in the role. As the film progresses it is made clear that Lovett is just as villainous as Todd - however, her betrayal consists, not of taking the lives of strangers, but of a deceit based upon her envy and desire. If possible, she is a character flawed even more than Todd.

The horror and gore content is theatrical - the blood is a tad bit too bright a red, and behaves as an extra character within the film; nowhere near as spine chilling as the Judge (Alan Rickman). The ends of the film are poetically justified, but Rickman convinces you that none deserved their unhappy ending as much as the Judge. This is a character who is guaranteed to give you more nightmares that the blood-letting barber.

Of course, I cannot go without mentioning the cameo by Borat, sorry Sasha Baron Cohen. Playing a larger than life caricature, this is possibly the most serious acting job he has completed. I have previously not been a fan of his work, however, it again was the perfect marriage of actor to role.

I definitely recommend that you check this film out, however, if you are a tad bit sensitive perhaps try to see it in the daylight hours. For information on the plot check out the official movie site, or the wikipedia entry.

PS: keep your eyes open for Anthony Stewart Head, aka Rupert Giles from Buffy, who makes a very brief appearance!

2 comments:

Lynne said...

It's a very bizarre storyline for a musical! I've thought that since I saw a review for it on Broadway several years ago!

Jejune said...

I reckon Dotter would want to see this one, she's a long time Depp fan, and loves the more scary movies. Me? I'm a comedy or murder mystery girl ;)