Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007 movie)

Directed by:  Tim Burton
Released: 2007
Country: United States, United Kingdom

Main cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Jayne Wiesener, Ed Sanders

Genres: Musical, Horror, Thriller, Crime

Rating: 4 out of 5


Directed by Tim Burton, this film stars two of the actors whom we can see in many of Tim Burton's films: Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. In addition, the film stars Alan Rickman as the antagonist, Timothy Spall as a secondary antagonist, and Jamie Campbell-Bower in a supporting role.

Johnny Depp plays Benjamin Barker, a.k.a. Sweeney Todd, the antihero of the film. With a tragic past, the character makes an evil plan to take revenge from all those who had wronged him.

The film is adapted from the well-known musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. And this film is dark, violent and full of music.

Most musicals are cheerful and bright. But Sweeney Todd isn't. Rather, Sweeney Todd is a dark, violent movie.

One of the charms of this film is that there is music within dialogues. Many of the dialogues are songs. There are lots of songs in this movie, most of which are excellent.

The film starts as a middle-aged man, Sweeney Todd (played by Johnny Depp) is coming to London with a young man, Anthony (played by Jamie Campbell-Bower). Upon reaching London, through a song, tells him about a barbar. The barber is, as we are shown in the flashback, Todd himself. His name was then Benjamin Barker. He had a beautiful wife, Lucy, and a little daughter. They were very happy.

But the evil Judge Turpin (played by Alan Rickman) is in love with Lucy, and banishes Barker for a crime he didn't commit.

Back in the present day, Barker has changed his name to Sweeney Todd and has come back to London. He goes to the Fleet Street, where he goes to the shop of Mrs. Lovett, who makes the worst meat pies in London. Todd used to live in the flat above Mrs. Lovett's shop.

Mrs. Lovett tells Todd what happened to Lucy. Judge Turpin had raped Lucy, and Lucy poisoned herself using Arsenic. Judge Turpin raise Johanna, Todd's daughter, as his ward.

Upon recognizing Todd, Mrs Lovett takes him upstairs, and returns his silver razors to him.

Then several events follow. Todd wants to take revenge from those who wronged him. And he and Mrs. Lovett think of an evil plan.

The film is violent and dark. The film is musical. The film has a violent, dark tale of revenge. But in spite of being violent, Sweeney Todd is memorable and remarkable because of a number of reasons. First of all, the presentation. The film is presented excellently through music, songs, a bit of humor. At times, it is highly scary. 

The character of Sweeney Todd first appeared as a murderer in the the penny dreadful series in 1846-1847. More additions were made to the story later on. There have been different versions of the story. 

The cast is strong. Johnny Depp's performance as the antihero Sweeney Todd is excellent. Helena Bonham Carter is also quite excellent in her role as Todd's partner in crimes, Mrs Lovett. Alan Rickman's performance as the evil Judge Turpin is remarkable. Timothy Spall also gives a good performance as Mr. Beadle, Turpin's associate.

Jamie Campbell Bower gives an excellent performance as Anthony. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Pirelli, as a barber and secondary antagonist. Ed Sanders is a brilliant child actor and his performance as Tobias is highly noteworthy. Jayne Wiesener, in her relatively small role as Todd's daughter and Turpin's ward Johanna, is okay.

Cinematography is excellent. The sets are excellent as well. Costumes are okay, and makeup deserves praise. Truly, the makeup was remarkable. And also, the music of this film is truly excellent.

Overall, Sweeney Todd is an excellent film, and it is the combination of everything- songs, music, story, script, cast, cinematography, makeup and presentation- that makes this film a great one. The film's scary, and excellent.

4 out of 5

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