Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Sweeney Todd marks the return to the big screen of the dynamic duo of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton - they've been together six times and I'm sure there's many more to come. Hell, we might as well throw Helena Bonham Carter into the mix as well, as she has been along for the ride on a handful of occasions and now has the pleasure of seeing Tim Burton naked before she falls asleep at night.

In the movie, Depp plays a disgruntled barber who has just spent the last fifteen years of his life in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Needless to say, he's not too happening about the situation and he returns to his old stomping grounds to set things straight. Sweeney opens a new barber shop and promises his customers the closest shave they will ever receive in their entire life. Not only do his customers get a great shave but they can also eat a delicious meat pie from Mrs. Lovett's restaurant, which sits below the ill-fated barber shop.

Often when I think of musicals, and that ain't too often, I think of singing, dancing, laughter, birds chirping in trees, happy endings and the like. Sweeney Todd is nothing of the sort. It's dark, it's creepy, it's dreary, there's blood, guts, cannibalism and pretty much everything the exact opposite of what one would expect from your average, everyday Broadway musical. Is that a good thing? It certainly is interesting.

I think in some ways my moving-going experience at Sweeney Todd was tainted by the person sitting next to me saying in a very loud voice, "this movie sucks", about four or five times during the film. But putting that aside, I thought Sweeney Todd was okay. Sure there were times that it might have felt like little more than a "Saw" movie with better actors and a bit of music thrown into the mix. But like most Tim Burton movies, the sets and the cinematography are so outstanding that those alone almost make the movie worth watching. The gothic looks that come across on the screen are magnificent. Throw in the always reliable Johnny Depp, who is a surprisingly good singer, Helena Bonham Carter and a supporting cast that includes Alan Rickman and Borat (who supplies some moments of comic relief in an otherwise dark movie), and what you have is a movie that is worth checking out at some point in your life.

I wouldn't call Sweeney Todd the best musical I've ever seen in my life. It certainly puts a new twist on the genre - music with lots of blood. I guess at times it just seemed there was too much music. At other times, too much blood. And for short moments here and there, not enough interest.

In the end, Sweeney Todd is a relatively entertaining movie that is surely not your everyday average Broadway musical transformed to the big screen. It is a movie that should satisfy Johnny Depp fans as he is simply magnificent. Tim Burton fans will be happy as well. Those looking for lots of blood will not be disappointed. And fans of that average everyday musical will at least start out watching the movie with big smiles on their faces. I just fear that the fans of the blood might feel there is too much music. The fans of the music might feel there is too much blood. For me, a fan of neither the blood or the music, I thought it was an okay movie. Glad I saw it but won't be making any drastic changes in my life to ever see it again. You can take that advice for whatever it's worth to you.
 

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