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By website-editor on 30.1.2024

Sweeney Todd

Tim Burton and Jonny Depp serve up a sleek slice of gothic horror, though the story of the demon barber of Fleet Street is for most people, relatively familiar, Sweeney Todd is still genuinely frightening, with a haunting Stephen Sondheim soundtrack, lifted directly from the stage version and cinematography as dark and devilishly delightful as Marilyn Manson meeting Vincent Price in a moonlit graveyard.

The marvellous musical is played out over grim Victorian streets, the bleak ambience recalling the smoky London underworld of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle. For those unacquainted with the tale, Sweeney Todd was once a respectable, upwardly mobile young hair stylist, until he was sent to jail for a petty crime by a pompous high court judge. After his release he extracts revenge on London society by literally carving into the bourgeois upper crust, murdering his unsuspecting victims in his Fleet Street barbershop, before sending them cruelly downstairs to Mrs Todd, who bakes their unseemly remains in her award winning pies.

Jonny Depp is his usual imperious self, he’s worryingly convincing at playing the demonic murderer, although shades of a more malicious Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean or a demented Sherlock Homes, From Hell, do creep in intermittently. Even though Depp has tackled similar roles previously, one thing is certain, he’s not yet had a stab at singing on screen, Depp’s singing voice is a smoothly toned timber, which is surprisingly evocative and almost worth the admission fee alone.

Thankfully Depp’s performance is not the soul delight of Sweeney Todd, Jamie Bower who plays the likable urchin Anthony Hope, almost upstages the Oscar nominated leading man, and is definitely one to watch for the future. Tim Burton’s other half Helena Bonham Carter also gives a meaty performance as the barber’s pie making wife.

Overall Sweeney Todd is a masterfully macabre rendition of a well known scare story, it’s eerie and enchanting in all the right places, with a sharp as razorblades ending, the film should have made Tim Burton a candidate for the highly converted best director Oscar. Sweeny Todd is a black magic thriller with all the pace of a hell bound locomotive.

Comments

  • Sweeney Todd was awesome! My boyfriend didn’t know it was a musical, so he was rather surpised when Depp started belting out a song. I didn’t like the way the film was constantly filmed with a green/blue filter effect. I realise it was meant to look dull, but it simply made it look faker. Helena Bonham Carter was fab and is it creepy that I found Johnny hot?!

    By Linz on 7.2.2024

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  • Helena Bonham Carter doesn’t play his wife! She is simply the rather infatuated shop owner, his wife is rather, someone else although I shall refrain from saying for the sake of spoilers.

    But definitely a top class production, hauntingly grotesque with a fair share of comedy thrown in too.

    By Jess on 6.2.2024

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