Friday, December 21, 2007

"Sweeney Todd" is a delicious treat

My freelance review:
With Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton are reunited in what is arguably their most ambitious filmmaking effort. (Depp and Burton previously worked together on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands.)

Sweeney Todd is quite the escape. It's set in a Victorian-era London downtown with characters whose costumes and surroundings feel right out of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Any similarities to A Christmas Carol end there, though!

For this is a bloody film -- and perhaps the most joyously bloody film I'll ever see! The blood and gore are complemented by gothic, twisted humor -- and characters who break out in song -- some quite beautiful and touching -- throughout the entire film.

Adapted from Stephen Sondheim's award-winning Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd is the story of a man (Depp, in the title role) who is unjustly sent to prison and who -- upon his release -- vows revenge for that and for what happened to his wife and young daughter while he was imprisoned.

Todd reopens his barber shop -- and let's just say his knives are plenty sharp. Helena Bonham Carter plays Mrs. Lovett, owner of a restaurant under the barber shop that serves "meat pies" to its customers. Todd and Lovett join forces. Given the dark humor of the story, I'll leave things to your imagination at this point!

Depp and Bonham Carter deliver fantastic performances. Other stand-outs in the cast include Alan Rickman as Todd's arch-nemesis, the corrupt judge, and Sacha Baron Cohen (who played the title role in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) as a rival barber.

Overall, there is an abundance of style to this film, and fortunately there is also plenty of substance from the story and the music.

This holiday season, let yourself be taken away by Sweeney Todd. And think twice before eating any meat pies.

No comments: