Friday, December 28, 2007

Movie Review: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Isn't life wonderful? Well for poor, naive Benjamin Barker, a simple man with a beautiful wife and newborn baby girl it was until he was falsely accused of a crime and sent away for years by Judge Turpin. The movie opens with a ship pulling into a London shipyard as a young man, Anthony Hope, sings of the possibilities and potential of London. But he is cut off by the dirge-like melody of Sweeney Todd and his song about London...but feel free to to switch London with Washington or any place these days.
There's a whole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren't worth what a pin can spit
and it goes by the name of London.
At the top of the hole sit the previlaged few
Making mock of the vermin in the lonely zoo
turning beauty to filth and greed...
I too have sailed the world and seen its wonders,
for the cruelty of men is as wonderous as Peru
but there's no place like London!
I can't see anyone other than Tim Burton and Johnny Depp making this this adaptation of Stephen Sondhiem's musical better, since it is an adaptation of a musical there is singing throughout and what is most impressive is that the only professional singer is the actress who plays the beggar woman. The songs are an integral part of the movie and my personal favorite is a little priest, you've just gotta read the lyrics they're inspired! My favorite part is,
TODD:How choice!HowRare!
TODD:For what's the sound of the world out there?
LOVETT:What, Mr. Todd? What, Mr. Todd? What is that sound?
TODD:Those crunching noises pervading the air!
LOVETT:Yes, Mr. Todd! Yes, Mr. Todd! Yes, all around!
TODD:It's man devouring man, my dear!
TODD:The history of the world, my love --
LOVETT:Save a lot of graves, Do a lot of relatives favors!
TODD:Is those below serving those up above!
BOTH:That those above will serve those down below!
Ahh the metaphors are as thick as blood! I love it!!
Helena Bonham Carter does a wonderful job as Mrs. Lovette and seems just as well cast as Johnny Depp, she has also worked with Burton before, she voiced the lead female character in the Corpse Bride. Her story is almost a tragic as Sweeney Todd's and their fates become intertwined once their "joint venture" gets underway.....ahhh Capitalism!
Another great casting choice was Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, the man did such a good job playing such a detestable human being. The scenes with Depp when he's in the chair had me at the edge of my seat almost screaming out "DO IT!", tremendous tension during those scenes! Absolutely terrific!
You may recognize Judge Turpin's lackey, Beadle Bamford, from the recent Disney movie Enchanted, he played a similar rolein that movie. Tomothy Spall makes Beadle Bamford so loathesome the audience looks forward to his fateful day.
I loved Sweeney Todd, the music, the actors, the overall experience was incredibly enjoyable and I highly recomend it to everyone, but if you get squeemish at the sight of blood, or bodily mutation don't eat before the show. This movie is not for kids, they will not apreciate it nor understand the themes within it. If $200-$400 a ticket for theatrical thriller is too much to swallow, Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd is well worth the price of admission.