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"At last! My arm is complete again," Johnny Depp declares. His arm is raised aloft with razor in hand so the outline of his figure looks remarkably similar to one of his previous characters - Edward Scissorhands.
A coincidence? I think not. It is a very clever nod not only to a past film starring Johnny Depp but the film which kicked off the dream team partnership which is Depp and film director Tim Burton.
This is my ultimate actor, director partnership and their work has never failed to disappoint. Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is no exception.
The film also sees the third wheel of this dream team - Helena Bonham Carter - in full motion.
Burton's wife and Depp's friend, she too has become a regular face in Burton films. The three have worked on the Corpse Bride, a remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and since Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland.
Depp and Bonham Carter just happen to be my favourite actor and actress anyway, so the fact they work together so frequently is a real treat for me. They have a fantastic chemistry on screen which must be interesting for Burton. Artistically he must be applauding this but personally? I don't think it proves a problem. Burton and Bonham Carter are hardly the conventional couple. They live in separate houses with adjoining doors. The reason for this - they have completely different tastes in décor and Bonham Carter could not cope with Burton's insomnia.
Tim Burton is one of my favourite directors. It is in actual fact his insomnia which drives the look and feel of his projects. The characters have the dark eyes and pale faces of the sleep deprived. The worlds he creates sit between wakefulness and sleeping, reality and dream-scape. They are dark, brooding worlds with threats just around the corner and people driven by their passions, often to destructive ends.
As a result, Burton could not be a more perfect director to bring Sweeney Todd, the musical to film. His vision and direction suit this dark, passion driven, vengeful and brooding story perfectly.
Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is set in Victorian London. Burton lets us know this in the opening sequence when we soar across the rooftops of a dark, grimy, smoky London before plunging down into the street below. Burton depicts London in all its grittiness. It is the dirty, smoggy, festering place it truly was in Victorian times. It is a place where life is hard for the poorest in society who are forced to scrape together a living by any means possible. Even the rich are tainted by its grime, as though the fog has wormed its way into their hearts.
The exception is the Barker family, Benjamin (Depp's character), his wife Lucy and their bonny daughter Johanna. There's is a bright, blooming, enchanted world flooded with more light than a shampoo advert. This is an important scene in the film to illustrate just what Benjamin Barker loses to send him on the cruel rampage which dominates the rest of the film.
The reason? The beauty of his wife Lucy attracts the attention of the corrupt Judge Turpin - played by Alan Rickman - who falsely accuses the barber of a crime he did not commit.
After 15 years in exile, Benjamin returns to London under the new identity of Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge against Turpin. He sets up a barbers above Mrs Lovett's (Bonham Carter's character) pie shop and they plot to team up. Benjamin, as Sweeney Todd, enacts his revenge on the whole of London's male population, with his sights ultimately set on Turpin's throat. Once Sweeney Todd has killed and robbed them, the bodies are sent down into the pie shop below where Mrs Lovett uses the human flesh to fill her pies.
I have to admit, though drawn by the Burton, Depp, Bonham Carter team, I was slightly concerned about watching this film. I knew the story behind Sweeney Todd, which incidentally many people believe has a deal of basis on a real life barber working in Fleet Street in the Victorian period, and I wasn't sure I could cope with the level of gore and the resulting cannibalism.
The film isn't for the faint-hearted in this respect but its appeal spreads wider than the usual horror film watcher. The violence and blood shed is intentionally over done by Burton. Blood spurts in torrents from men's slashed necks, making the scenes more in line with comic books than reality. Similarly, there is a dark humour to the human flesh-filled pies, as recognisable body parts are squished through a mincer and a human finger pokes out of a pie crust. The over the top nature takes the edge off what could be disturbingly gruesome.
The musical element of the film should not put off the usual anti-musical clan. Burton ensures all the songs from the hit Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim are there but they are given a new life in the hands of actors as opposed to professional singers.
Neither Depp nor Bonham Carter are the best singers but the imperfections of their vocal abilities actually add a tough, gritty edge perfect for Sweeney Todd. That is not to say they are incapable of carrying a tune. Depp's rock and roll effort is a far cry from his early musical film 'Cry Baby' when he simply mimed away to someone else's voice. Whilst considering the part of Mrs Lovett is known to be one of the most challenging female parts in any musical, Bonham Carter does a sterling job.
Another thing they both do very well is comedy. Considering the darkness of the story, you would imagine there is little place for humour but they both put in multi-layered performances. Whilst plotting their evil plan during the song my friends they twirl around gleefully and camp up the performance more in line with the Sweeney Todd of the Broadway stage than Sweeney Todd the horror film.
"By the Sea" is another perfect example of humour amidst despair. Mrs Lovett imagines what their lives could be like after they have made their fortunes from her pies. They are flung into a completely alien landscape of a bright, paintbox coloured seaside where Mrs Lovett joyfully parades around, while Sweeney Todd remains steadfastly morose in delicious contrast to the scenery.
This multi-layered technique is used elsewhere to great effect. Depp and Rickman (as Turpin) sing what is one of the musical's most catchy and upbeat numbers, Pretty Women, as Depp wields a cut throat razor dangerously close to Turpin's throat. While Bonham Carter comforts the young Toby with the melodious, lullaby-esque "Not While I'm around", all the time with a sinister glint in her eye.
The rest of the cast put in stunning performances. Alan Rickman as Turpin is cold and calculating and will send shivers down the spine as he lusts over the young Johanna. Timothy Spall is a simpering, slimy sidekick to Turpin as Beadle Bamford.
While Jayne Wisener as Johanna and Jamie Campbell Bowe as Anthony, provide a perfect contrast to Depp and Bonham Carter through their classic hero and heroine blonde looks. There is even an appearance from Sasha Baron Cohen as Pirelli. Who would have thought Ali G had such an incredible singing voice. His vocals steal the film.
Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a must see for fans of musicals and/or horror and/or the Burton, Depp, Bonham Carter partnership. There is something for all tastes and enough to swing viewers round to admire a whole new genre.
When I sat down with the Mrs to watch Sweeny Todd, Demon Barber of Fleet Street, I was foolishly expecting to watch a bog standard horror film. Look at the front cover, how far wrong could I possibly be?! Clearly very.
Sweeny Todd is in fact a musical melodrama. It explores negative emotions like revenge, jealously and lust with the splatterings of blood thrown in just for added effect. I'm not usually a deep and meaningful kind of guy, but I really did find that this film tugged at my emotions and really engaged me because of that. I found myself tipping my hat to the various clever twists in the plot, and really enjoying the film for it's substance and not just it's gory special effects.
The story goes that Sweeny Todd has returned to London after being deported on false charges by a judge who had designs on his beautiful wife. Arriving back on Fleet Street, he is recognised by a pie shop woman called Mrs Lovett, who takes him under her wing and encourages him to have his revenge on the judge who deported him. When he asks what became of his wife and baby, she tells him that the wife poisoned herself with arsenic and the judge took his baby girl. This is true in part but you'll have to watch the film to find out the whole truth.
As the story progresses, Todd (played by Johnny Depp), sets up a barber shop with a specially adapted barber's chair. It can be flung backwards and send corpses through a trap door in the pie shop below - and oh yes they DO make good use of the meat. Todd is bitter and angry with the world for his misfortunes, and biding his time until the Judge comes to him for closest shave of his life. Meanwhile the young lad from his journey back to England comes across his daughter by chance, and an additional storyline is woven in to give the whole film a real sense of depth and continuing interest.
The musical performances in this are outstanding, and I had no idea Depp was such a powerful singer. He has a great voice and manner for musical theatre. The female lead, played by Helena Bonham Carter, was equally compelling in her vocal performances. I really liked the way in which they regularly blended the two singers together in perfect harmony without it coming across as being pretentious or over the top.
The film is visually amazing, as you'd expect from director Tim Burton to be honest! It's a dark film, often set in night time London (around the 1800s), but the great direction, lighting and picture quality made this enjoyable to watch regardless. Sometimes night time movies are a bit dark to watch for long, but I really didn't have a problem with this. There were loads of little touches included to make sure you could always easily see and focus on the main aspects of every scene without even trying.
There are some really memorable performances in this film, with one of my favourites being from the young Ed Sanders who played Toby. Toby originally appears on screen as a rival barber's assistant (the barber being played by Sacha Baron-Cohen), but after Todd murders this other barber, Toby sticks around as Mrs Lovett's pie shop helper. Toby is a bit of a Dodger character, and he swigs his gin and flits around Mrs Lovett's skirts with a skill that belies his young age. His vocal performances were outstanding throughout and he held some pretty tricky notes in places.
All in all this is a five star film that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys watching something a little different. It's like Moulin Rouge met Children of the Corn in places, and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before. It was nice to be surprised for a change considering how many same-y films we get through in a year! What really made the film for me were the first rate actors, vocal performances and visual directions. Even the costumes and make-up were done to perfection. I highly recommend this film and will definitely watch it again sometime.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
FILM ONLY REVIEW
There are a good few films in which some of my friends laugh at me for never seeing before, and one of these films is 'Sweeney Todd'. It originally came out as a film in 2007 and is based upon the Broadway hit musical, though the other night was the first time I had ever seen it, and I have to admit, I don't know why I waited so long!
THE DEMON BARBER
"Sweeney Todd. He never forgets and he never forgives"
As already mentioned, this film is based upon the Broadway hit musical by Stephen Sondheim which began in 1979, though the story originally began a long time before this as a subject of a 1959 ballet by English composer, Sir Malcolm Arnold, and before this in an 18 part story in 1847. The story, however, surrounds the Victorian melodrama and it is believed that it is loosely based on an actual historical event, though scholars believe it is more likely to be one of the first Urban Myths. However it began, this particular film is one of the latest versions of Sweeney Todd.
With that out of the way, let me bring you onto the film itself.
Sweeney Todd follows the infamous character of Benjamin Barker, AKA Sweeney Todd, as he returns home after being sent away for fifteen years by the local judge just for being with the woman he loved. Once a well known barber, Todd resumes his former role after learning that his wife is dead and his once baby daughter has been taken by his nemesis, the judge. This time, however, Todd is not interested in how clean a shave he can give his clients and soon forms a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs Lovett, which is driven by his want and need for revenge against the man who sent him away and lost him his wife and daughter.
For fear of saying too much and spoiling your appetite with spoilers, I shall attempt to not give away too much, though I will say this; Mrs Lovett's pies have got so much better since she added the secret ingredient!
The story takes place in Victorian London, in Fleet Street to be more precise, and the setting is just perfect. The old buildings and the darkness mixes well alongside the well thought out costumes and the rest of the set. This alone brings a feel of the sinister into your bones, and that is before the story even begins!
Over the many years of history, this story has been told and retold and has various different styles and storylines. This particular story line is written extremely well. I have not seen any other versions personally, though this version ran smoothly with a lot of excitement and even some terrifying moments. It is a very simple story, and without the music (more on this later), it would not run very long at all. It does have the slight feel of a slasher movie at times and I did feel that the main story was beginning to get lost at other times, though on a whole it was a very entertaining, well thought out story.
The ending is always a very important factor in a film in my opinion, as if the film is great yet the ending is a let-down, I always feel robbed and do not feel that it was worth my time watching it.
So how does the ending of this film compare?
Right up until the very end, I did not know what was going to occur. There were numerous endings I could see in my mind, and it was a closure which was kept very close until right when the action took place. I loved this as it really kept my mind on the film, wondering what was going to happen and how it was going to happen. Certain aspects of the ending were foretold right from the beginning, and these certainly did not fail to fall in the correct way, though there were still the surprises and twists in the tale in which I was not expecting, and the way everything was carried out in the end was a perfect round-up in many ways. Saying this, however, the ending may be a disappointment to many and it is certainly in no way a feel-good film! I did find myself feeling rather empty at the end. Everything happened that was meant to happen, though I felt slightly emotional for the wrong reasons. This is not a bad thing by any means, and it certainly kept me thinking of the film for a while after, though there was just something I can not place my finger on which did not seem right. Overall, though, the ending to the film and the storyline itself was played out brilliantly.
Sweeney Todd is rated an 18 and I completely agree with this. Although younger audiences do watch teen slasher movies and so on, this movie takes gore to a whole other level. It is done so well alongside the story and music, that it becomes even more full of fear and I certainly had to hide my eyes a few times. There was one downside, though, with the blood and gore and that was the effects of it. At times it almost looked comical which did ruin the feeling and emotion the scene was trying to portray. This was such a shame as the rest of the film created such a dark and at times, scary, outlook that when these small inconsistencies occurred, it ruined both the flow and feeling. A small negative, though, nothing to dwell on too much.
I am not a huge fan of musical films, though I do admit the older classic films such as Sound of Music and Oliver are favourites of mine. These days, though, if a film is not animated, I tend to steer clear of musical films as a lot of the time they do not seem to run well and seem to plonk the songs here, there and everywhere without any reason. Sweeney Todd, however, is like no other. Perhaps the reason for this is that it is taken straight from the Broadway musical and so works extremely well. Without the music, I do not think this film would have worked as well. As mentioned above, the story is very simple and quite short, really, and the music really pads it out perfectly. Not only that, but the songs tell the story. If anything, the songs are even more important for this film than the story itself - it certainly made a large impact on me.
The songs are all extremely powerful as they tell the story, many being quite long, though perfect for the scenes. The action and scenes ran perfectly as the actors played their roles brilliantly. There are perhaps 18 main songs in the film with some revises on songs including some duets which include more than one song together. Now usually, I would not list the songs used in a film, though I feel that as the songs in Sweeney Todd are the main part of the film, it is important to say a little more about them, especially if you are like me and do not usually watch musical films. I would not want you to be put off due to all the music within it.
The main songs are as follows;
No Place Like London - This opening song sung mainly by the great Johnny Depp is a very dark and perhaps a little angry in feeling. It is very slow though has a more upbeat 'chorus' leading into more of a telling of the story before the action on screen, so a very valuable song. This is sung by the dark docks leading into London though also shows scenes of the past which is really great. Action and song work so well and it is this song which made me stay seated to watch this.
The Worst Pies in London - A more upbeat and a little dark humour involved in both lyrics and scene. Sung by Helena Bonham Carter and a very typical Broadway style. Carter sings this perfectly with a typical old London accent and really introduces her character to the film.
Poor Thing - This song was so unexpected with Carter's voice and personality both on and off screen. Her character is shown well in this song as a well-rounded person, though I never knew Carter could sing so well! This song, again, produces some important information about the story both past and present and is extremely vital for how the storyline continues.
My Friends - A rather dark song when you watch the scene at the same time. Depp sings this fantastically about his razors...confused? Well, it is the story about a barber and this perhaps opens up the film to what may happen after...
Green Finch & Linnett Bird - Perhaps not one of my favourite songs on the film and unlike all the other songs, did not have a real need to be there apart from to introduce a character into the storyline.
Alms Alms - A very short and painful song, though purposely painful to listen to. A song which seems insignificant to begin with though becomes more understandable later on in the film. I believe this song was reduced significantly from the stage show.
Johanna - A sweet little song if not a little creepy (though isn't this what the whole film is!). Sung very well and opens up for a reprise later on in the film with Johnny Depp joining in making the reprise a much better song and even more sad. It stands out from a lot of the film and also includes a more painful, and slightly mad, verse or two from the beggar woman. All voices coming together brilliantly for the reprise, making it one of my favourite songs on the film though perhaps not one of my favourite scenes.
Pirelli's Miracle Elixir - A great introduction to a young character who plays a larger part later on in the film. A spectacular voice which provides the right humour for the song and scene especially with Lovett's and Todd's extremely funny interruptions!
The Contest - As I mentioned before, the songs play the main part of the story line and this song runs straight from the last song though with a great contrast and many conversational interruptions, all in the perfect places. A real upbeat second part to the previous song, if not sung as angelic!
Wait - Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are just pure gold throughout the whole film, and this scene and song really proves this. A turning point in the film, perhaps, with a soft and gentle song.
Ladies and Their Sensitivities - A short but extremely great, upbeat duet which is reprised a few times throughout the rest of the film.
Pretty Women - Another great duet with a scene that really made me think that Snape from Harry Potter had arrived! Rickman and Depp provide not only a fantastic scene but brilliant and nail biting song.
Epiphany - Another amazing upbeat song with the darker side to the lyrics and scene with some mix from 'Johanna'
A Little Priest - Quite a funny song and scene with the black and dark humour though I did find myself grinning during this. It begins quite slow until 'he gets it' and then the duet takes off and with the mix of scene and lyrics makes this perhaps the funniest part in this dark film!
God, That's Good! - Another dark yet upbeat song with a few funny moments thrown in. Parts from Pirelli's Miracle Elixir mixed in with more upbeat lyrics and a duet.
By the Sea - A telling of the story through Mrs. Lovetts eyes with some contrasting parts from Depp.
Not While I'm Around - A really sweet and beautiful song with the darker edges.
All these songs are also on a CD compilation which I am very tempted to buy, though it is doubtful that these songs will mean as much if you have never watched this film!
The songs are fantastic and as I already mentioned, the story would be nothing without them in my opinion. This is a real musical film and works just like you are watching it on stage. It is a perfect adaptation from stage and with the songs, story, actors and everything else, I just regret one thing...that I did not watch it sooner!
I am not sure if I was asked to say one thing which makes me like this film, whether I could pin point it for you. It has all the traits of a film I would generally hate; a musical, blood and gore and similar scenes like a typical slasher movie, a very short story line....but there is just something about this film I love! The music is great, the story is dark and works brilliantly, and the characters are perfect and above all, the cast is amazing...
This film was directed by Tim Burton, another reason I should have disliked the film as there is not many of his films I do like, though funnily enough, one of his and Depp's collaborations in the past, 'Edward Scissorhands' I adored and so perhaps it it the mix of these two great people which makes me love this film. John Logan wrote the screenplay for this film, and is known for such writings as Gladiator and Star Trek: Nemisis. The musical writer is Stephen Sondheim who has written music for many stage and screen plays.
One of the main things in which made me watch this film in the first place is the main cast list. I was amazed at the great names which appeared on the credits and knew that even if the film was terrible (which it wasn't!), then I may at least enjoy it due to the cast!
The main cast list includes;
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
Helena Bonham Carter - Mrs Lovett
Alan Rickman - Judge Turpin
Timothy Spall - Beadle
Sacha Baron Cohen - Pirelli
Jamie Campbell Bower - Anthony
Laura Michelle Kelly - Beggar Woman
Jayne Wisener - Johanna
Depp and Carter are simply a match made in Heaven (or perhaps Hell in regards to this film!!). Their energy is amazing and the characterisations are superb. I do get a sense of type casting in a way with signs of Jack Sparrow and Bellatrix LeStrange (Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter) though this fits perfectly and the others who were in the running for the characters such as Cyndi Lauper and Emma Thompson as Mrs Lovett would not have been a patch on these two. Not only were they amazing alone, they were also incredible together. I believe that this was one of the first times Depp had actually sung like this and although he was not perfect, it really matched his character, and Certer, who had extensive singing lessons before hand, was simply amazing at singing her songs. An all round perfect duo and a team I would love to see more often in films. They really suited the dark characters in Sweeney Todd and the film would not have made it so big without them.
Alan Rickman was another great choice in this film, and again, some type casting from Harry Potter did seem to creep in here! His portrayal on screen was absolutely perfect, though I expect no less from him. His singing voice was also very much a hit which surprised me to say the least.
It seems that this may be a Harry Potter reunion what with Spall also playing a lead role in the film, though this time, Spall bought out so much more to his character. I was never a fan of Spall, though his work on Beadle was a hit. He really took the character and made it his.
A surprising name on the cast list, yet he actually worked. Yes, Cohen was still annoying in this particular character, though he fit really well with all the other characters that I almost forgot I didn't like him.
Surprise, surprise, another Harry Potter cast member, though this time a lesser known one. I did not even recognise him at first and I love Harry Potter! I find it very amusing that so many actors from this great set of films appear in this film as this is completely and utterly different, though all the actors are very well trained and take their roles on perfectly, even Bower, even though I did feel that his character was a little weaker than the rest. Still, when working with other characters, he worked well and made it a much more well rounded cast.
Kelly had a much smaller role in this film, though when she did appear, all eyes were on her with her fantastic performance (yet not so fantastic singing!). Wisener also had a very small role, though her acting did not shine as much as Kelly's. I feel as though this was due to the fact that she did not have time to shine. Her character felt a little lost in the story line, even though it should have been one of the biggest, especially in the background, though none of this occurred, leaving Wisener no chance to build her character up. She was a one dimensional character, I felt, and it was such a shame. Apparently, Burton wanted an unknown actress for this part though maybe a bigger named actress may have been given more chance to grow!
There are also a whole host of minor characters, and many of which are not even credited! One in particular surprised me, as he is a well known name, especially in my house. Anthony Stewart Head (Giles from Buffy, Uther from Merlin and many other great programmes), played a tiny walk on walk off part with a little one line which you would have missed if you had blinked. Such a shame as he is a great actor who got such a poor part that made me feel was it worth it?
Other minor characters were mainly extras and not really noticeable or memorable. This cast was a big one, though only a small amount really had a decent part. Those who did have main parts were all fantastic with a few small flaws, though overall, the cast is an amazing one and each took their roles perfectly helping to create a fantastic film.
At first glance of this film, I did not think I would like it, which is possibly why it took so long for me to watch it, though I am really glad I finally got around to it. The cast was amazing and the songs were fantastic. There were only a few small flaws and these are very easily overlooked when you are presented by such an amazing film.
Do not be put off if you do not like musical films as this is really one of a kind. It is rated at 18 plus and I recommended that this is followed as it does have a lot of dark parts throughout the whole film and as it is done very cleverly, it makes it even more scary.
Starring Johnny Depp as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Timothy Spall as Beadle
Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin
Helena Bonham-Carter as Mrs Lovett
The prow of a ship emerges through the gloomy murk of the Thames, and a scene unfolds which launches the viewer back to mid 19th century when London was an evil den of vice and filth, "a festering pit", or so sings Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd in this the opening scene.
The tale of Sweeney Todd is drawn out through a mostly sung script which Depp manages remarkably well, he (surprisingly for me) includes a good singing voice in his list of hidden talents, not so the rest of the cast I'm sorry to say.
Musically it has to be said that it doesn't get better than the first two songs and I leave you to make of that what you will.
As Helena Bonham- Carter, playing Mrs Lovett, tunelessly, bewails the fact that her pies are the worst in London and that "times is 'ard", I could have sworn that Sweeney Todd was about to yawn. This would have been entirely forgivable; given the fact that the entire scene went on for far too long, the words could barely be heard and Ms Bonham Carter has a singing voice that no-one should be forced to listen to for longer than absolutely necessary. That said, she was superbly cast as the resourceful pie maker and produced an authentic character.
A new face to the big screen, Jayne Wisener played Sweeney Todd's daughter, Johanna. She implored the greenfinch, linnet, blackbird and nightingale teach her how to sing, oh that they would! For hers is surely the most shrill voice ever to fall on human ears and this part would have done nothing to advance her career!
Jamie Campbell Bower was perhaps the most talented singer of the whole cast but all I could think of as he sung the song Johanna was Scott Walker's classic, "Joanna".
I felt that the soundtrack belied the bloody violence of the film and was an incongruous combination which for me just didn't have any cohesion at all.
Johnny Depp was a perfect Sweeney Todd and the story of the murderous barber was very well told but the music for the most part did not compliment the tale either in style or content.
Alan Rickman as the evil Judge Turpin was believable but unremarkable and overshadowed by Timothy Spall's deliciously repulsive Beadle. A role eminently suited to the skills of this versatile and entertaining actor.
Pirelli, convincingly played by Sacha Baron Cohen was mildly amusing in a stereotypical way and filled a space.
Most amusing track: A Little Priest, where Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett sing of the merits of Priest Pie against those of Poet or Lawyer Pie and others.
Most bloody moment: Sweeney Todd doing what he does best, slicing through throats.
The horror and violence in this film should not be underestimated on account of its being described as a Musical, make no mistake there is a lot to shock here (and that's just the music). All of the violent scenes are full on and not for the faint hearted so do take the 18 rating seriously.
Sweeney Todd is perhaps one of the oddest, most bizarre films that I have ever watched, an oil and water mix, macabre and musical. As a Tim Burton fan I expect the bizarre but this just did not gel for me.
Stars for acting, sets and plot.
Another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp team up and one that doesn't disappoint.
The cast also includes Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen so an all-star event with fantastic iconic British actors (hmm, well, I wouldn't normally include SBC in that, but he was surprisingly ok in this). Buffy and Angel fans should watch out for Anthony Head making a brief appearance in the market scene.
It has an 18 rating and is available now on DVD for around £7. I rented this and the rental DVD did not include any special features.
Well, I'm not going to give too much away. We all know the basics, barber, bodies, pie shop next door, revenge. The film is based on the stage musical by Stephen Sondhiem.
I have to say it took me 10 or 15 minutes to 'get into' this film. I knew it was a musical, but I'd thought that meant there would be a few occassions of bursting into song, as in 'Oliver' or something, but in fact this is nearly all sung dialogue. And none of those actors are really known for their singing voices. The young actor Jamie Campbell Bower was the only truly talented singer. The others got by.
I found this quite difficult to get used to but once I'd got engrosed in the plot, it all seemed much more natural. Once you got used to ridiculously mundane dialogue being sung, overall the music was terrific. Not just during the songs themselves, the background music went a long way towards creating a dramatic and slightly creepy (typical Tim Burton then) atmosphere. One of the best moments in the film is the song about different pie flavours...very funny.
Excellent performances from all. Helena Bonham-Carter's accent was a bit too comedy cockney - she was selling 'pooeyes' and wasn't as good as the other actors. If an American, Johnny Depp, can get it reasonably right, a Brit should be able to. Her eye-rolling hag evoked both sympathy and disgust. She managed to portray that this character was doing (or was willing to do) despicable things while not necessarily enjoying all of them.
Depp was definitely channelling Captain Jack Sparrow from time to time and there were parts that were too mumbled to understand. Otherwise, he did his usual good job in a whacky role. This role could easily have become too comedic in its extreme moments, but Depp stayed on just the right side of hamming it up.
Timothy Spall made a truly repugnant beadle (watch for the icky scene with the little girl in the market, it's only a couple of seconds but sets your imagination off into all sorts of directions you wish it hadn't gone).
Alan Rickman, born to play bad-guys bless him, still manages to provide this character with more than one dimension and almost makes us sympathetic to him once or twice.
Ed Sanders, a boy of about 12(?) did very well in his role, also had a good singing voice, and was satisfyingly 'un-cute'.
It's easy to fall at the feet of Tim Burton and assume everything he does is great, which isn't true, but this was a good representation of this story. Filmed in what seemed to be only tones of sludge, he shows us a dark and dangerous London, grim without being gruesome, and one of the most interesting sequences is when Todd first arrives and walks to his former home. The fast swoop through the street over just a few seconds contains a huge amount of telling detail (collapsed person on street fleetingly glimpsed, for example) that convincingly builds our mental picture of Todd's view of London.
The violent parts are well handled, with Todd almost appearing to dance though his actions. Cuts and camera angles keep the action mostly off camera at first, but the film gets increasingly bloody and overt as it builds to the climax. Which is a shocker!
Terrific couple of hours entertainment. Even Mr ToT, who hates horror movies, blood and guts and stuff, enjoyed this film, despite it's graphic moments, as it is so much more than just cut, slash and gore.
I honestly tried to keep it basic, I'm just no good!
Johnny Depp as Benjamin Barker / Sweeney Todd
Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett
Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin
Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony Hope
Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford
Sacha Baron Cohen as Davy Collins / Signor Adolfo Pirelli
Ed Sanders as Tobias "Toby" Ragg
Laura Michelle Kelly as Lucy Barker
Jayne Wisener as Johanna Barker
Sweeney Todd offers an obviously all star cast and some really catchy songs.
Benjamin Barker was the naive yet highly skilled barber of Fleet Street, who lived with his wife, and baby daughter, Johanna.
But Judge Turpin had eyes for Barkers wife so had him sent away for a crime he did not commit and set about persuing his lady.
When he had had his way with her, she was so ashamed she poisoned herself, so the Judge took Johanna in and raised her as his own.
While in his banishment, Barker changed his name to Sweeney Todd and years later returned to London with a young sailer named Anthony to find his daughter and wife. But he found Mrs Lovatt runing a pie shop where he had previously lived and worked. She told him about the Judge and his wife and daughter and Sweeney plots to take back his daughter and kill the Judge to avenge hs beloved wife.
Sweeney decides to advertise his business by taking on another barber in the city, Signor Adolfo Pirelli, in a "shave-off" in which the closest, fastest shave wins - Sweeney of course!! But Signor Pirelli is a fraudster, and is actually a Londoner called Davy Collins, and as a boy had worked for Benjamin Barker in his shop. Davy see's through Mr Todd's disguise and threatens him, telling him he will take half of Sweeney's earnings. Sweeney kills Davy and Mrs Lovatt takes in Toby, the boy that was working for "Signor Pirelli" and has him working in the pie shop with her.
Sweeney Todd fashions a chair that when a lever is pulled, the chair swings back opening a trap door which leads from his barber shop into the bakehouse below, and Sweeney Todd goes on a killing spree, trying to his way to the Judge's throat, and Mrs Lovatt puts the people murdered by Sweeney Todd into her meat pies.
While exploring the streets of London, Anthony spots Johanna in the window at the Judge's house, looking sadly over the city, and he decides to rescue her from her sadness and take her away. But while asking for help, Sweeney discovers that the girl that Anthony wishes to rescue, is his daughter, so he tells Anthony to bring Johanna to him.
On the night that Anthony plans to rescue Johanna, he runs to Mr Todd's place to tell him of his plans. When He has rescued her, he takes her to Sweeney Todd's shop he tells Johanna to wait for him there and goes off to get a carriage to take them away together.
While hiding in Sweeney's barber shop, Johanna witnesses Sweeney Todd killing people, by slitting their throats and dropping them though the floor to the bakehouse.
The film ends with Mrs Lovatt and Sweeney Todd in the bakehouse of the pie shop. He discovers his wife laying dead on the floor and confronts Mrs Lovatt. Mrs Lovatt proclaims her love for Mr Todd and the pair begin dancing around the bakehouse, then Sweeney pushes Mrs Lovatt into the bakehouse oven and locks the door. Then behind him appears Toby, who slits his throat and leaves him to die.
I realise that my review did not do this film justice but I had to do it... I really, REALLY enjoyed this film. It's a total gore-fest with awesome, catchy music to go with it!! Who wouldn't enjoy that?
This Film was directed by Tim Burton and is based around Sweeney Todd the demon barber of fleet street.
From the start of the film you see London depicted as this mysterious, dark and uninviting place.
The film may take a few by surprise as it is actually a musical, with all lead characters singing there way through the film. This makes a nice addition like many I expected a film not a musical. Sweeney Todd is played by Johnny Depp, who's English accent sounds like Jack sparrow from the pirates of the Caribbean. Depp is made up brilliantly and looks great as the Victorian barber.
The story explains why Sweeney Todd is returning to London, which is because of one Judge Turpin. Back in the day Sweeney Todd was known as Benjamin Barker, who had a lovely wife and child. Judge Turpin seized the opportunity to steal Benjamin's wife by falsely accusing him of a crime he did not commit. As a result he his sent away in exile for 15 years. When Benjamin can return he does, but with vengeance and a new name. When he gets back to London he re-opens his beloved barber shop above Mrs. Lovett's pie shop awaiting the judge and others who deserve the closest shave of their lives. It is clear to see that Todd misses his wife, and daughter who is kept under lock and key by judge Turpin. You see the sweet side to him, yet it is easy to understand the revenge he seeks and how he plans and goes about taking it.
Sweeney Todd is helped throughout by Mrs Lovett, Helena Bonham Carter, as she is deeply in love with him she does what she can when she can to assist.
Alan Rickman plays the judge and his assistant Beadle is played by Timothy Small.
A brilliant cast and a superb storyline make this film is amazing. Make sure you either buy buy/rent or borrow this film.
You will not be disappointed.
Once again Tim Burton and Johnny Depp join forces to produce a musical masterpiece. Johnny Depp plays the murderous Sweeny Todd , seeking revenge on the Evil Judge Turpin (played by Alan Rickman) and his wicked associate (Timothy Spall) after being innocently sent to prison. However once he's returned to London and joined forces with Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham) he finds being sent to prison isn't the only destruction the judge has caused.
Having a horror film directed as a musical is what makes this film a success. The dark, mysterious atmosphere the character Sweeny Todd brings to this film is created to an outstanding level by Tim Burton however the pure enjoyment of the film is emphasized by the music. I've never purchased a film soundtrack before but I would highly recommend this one as each song can be played over and over again. They are the sort of songs that you can't help but sing along to even when you've heard it for the 6th of 7th time that day.
Johnny Depp has played his fair share of interesting roles throughout his career; from the early days of "Edward Sissorhands" until his most recent portrayal of the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland" but I believe this is the best film he has done. Although I may be biased, as he is a personal favourite in my books, after watching this film on countless occasions I am still amazed Johnny Depp's talent to express Sweeny Todd's anger and need for revenge (there's the added bonus of, even as a serial killer, Johnny Depp is still nice to look at). My personal opinion is that Tim Burton couldn't have chosen a better actor for this part. Even though we know he's a murderer, destroying the lives of innocent Londoners, we still feel the barbers hurt and distraught. This is shown to such an extent by Johnny Depp we can even begin to feel sorry for him even whilst he's doing the preposterous things he is.
I bought this film on DVD as soon as it came out and I'd highly recommend people doing the same. The thrill of the horror, the suspense of waiting to see what he'll do next and the enjoyment of the music pulsing through your ears is what makes this film well worth seeing.
I didn't go and see this film in the cinema when it was out which I now regret. Bought the dvd of it not long ago and not really being into my musicals thought it would suffice to watch for one night however I found it to be a very good show.
Johnny Depp plays a fantastic part in it as he does in a lot of his films. The film is quite dark and as you can imagine if you know the general story of Sweeney Todd that it does get a bit bloody in places.
I usually won't go out of my way to watch musicals however this one was fantastic. All of the lyrics were very catchy and very well written. The only problem after the film will be getting the lyrics out of your head.
As far as I'm aware there were a number of awards given for this film and for Johnny Depp's part in it. If you fancy sitting down to a good film that grabs your attention from the start then this is the one for you.
Before watching the film I didn't think it would be up to much however it now holds its place among some of my favourite films.
A great show from start to finish.
I can safely say that Sweeney Todd is one of the most cleverly written films i have watched. I loved the dark and gruesome atmosphere that is in the film and i think Tim Burton did an excellent job on directing this film. It has majorly changed from the comical play version, i think this is a good thing though, i dont really see how slitting throats is a good watch, but somehow it just is!
The film is about a man called Benjamin Barker who got to transported to Australia but returns to find his wife. He comes across a pie shop owner called Mrs Lovett who realises that he is Benjamin Barker, she is shocked when he confesses that he is Benjamin Barker after explaining his wife tried to kill herself and that his daughter is a ward of Judge Turpin, the man who transported him. He decides to change his name to Sweeney Todd to make sure no one finds him out and opens his barber shop.
He sets a challange to Pirelli a barber in competition of Sweeney Todd's trade and wins. However Pirelli is a fraud and realises that Sweeney is the man he used to work for when he was a little boy. Sweeney Todd ends up killing him because he does not want to be found out. Thus brings the idea to Mrs lovett to kill people and put them into meat pies. In the end Judge Turpin, Pirelli, the beadle and various other men get killed.
It is so stomach turning and has a very unpredictable storyline that i dont see who can fail to not love the film. I am not really a fan of musicals but this deffiantly is so much more than 'just' a musical!
I have always been intrigued by the story of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of fleet street. This fictional character, thought of by some as an actual historical person is such a great character, and the story on its own has meant many different adaptations of the Sweeney Todd story has been told in book and on film so this one had to se it apart from the others, and it did this by being set as a musical.
Now I don't watch musicals, and I don't like musicals in the slightest however as this was the story of Sweeney Todd, I thought what better but a darker storyline of a movie to try and get me into a musical, so I gave it a watch and although the singing can get a bit annoying at times, I did enjoy the movie altogether.
Thee were times though where I did almost turn the movie off as the singing of constant things was getting on my nerves, to be honest I think there was just too much of it, and I know it's a musical but I think the movie apart from the too much singing was really good and could have been better with about half as much, although to be honest I probably would have preferred this one with no singing in there and just dialogue.
However apart from that the movie is set very well, the costume and prop department did an amazing job, everything looks so realistic and really feels like you've gone back in time to watch this one, Johnny Depp is amazing in it and as the film got going I really got enticed in the story, and some added twists in there that I haven't seen before made it an intriguing watch, especially at the end.
If you like musicals and dark, or horror movies you will love this, however I don't like musicals and I still did enjoy it after I got my head around all the singing at the start, just give this one a go, I should probably warn you though that it does have a lot of blood and gore in there.
When i first watched Sweeny Todd, i thought 'hmmm singinging, Johnny depp....is this film a musical' and apparently it was. Now i am not to keen on musicals but decided to watch anyway, and i am 100% thrilled that i gave this film the time of day. The storyline is based upon a barber featured within the victorian period who teams up with a lady who owns a pie shop yet their is a twist to the story that makes this film grusom but intreguing. The costume designs featured within this film are amazing and each costume tells a story of the character who wheres them which is closly related to the make up which has also been well thought threw to relate to that of the victorian era. The whole set design within this film is of the highest quality, from the streets to shops, houses and work places and clearly a lot of effort has been made by design teams when creating this musical. As i said earlier i am not a big fa\n of musicals, yet the songs featured throughout tell a clear storyline and bring a range of emotions to the room when watching which mainly for me was laughter. This film gives a real sence of what it would have been like to live in the victorian times and almost makes you wish for a time macheine. i rate this movie to everyone.
A tale of bloody revenge may not be the most obvious subject for a musical makeover, but Sweeney Todd throws up a number of surprises. Tim Burton's 2007 film, a reworking of the Stephen Sondheim musical which reprises the director's winning partnerships with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, is a bleakly, blackly enthralling effort that hits few bum notes.
"There's no place like London ..." laments our protagonist as he returns from fifteen years' presumably unpleasant exile, a sentence imposed on him by a corrupt judge (Alan Rickman) who takes a fancy to the barber's wife. Said wife gone and daughter adopted by the sadistic Judge Turpin, the man formerly known as Benjamin Barker returns with a new moniker and, taking up his beloved cut-throat razors once again, a new bloodthirsty, vengeful raison-d'être.
As Sweeney Todd, the bitter returning hero of sorts, Depp is in his element, stalking around Burton's quintessentially gothic wonderland in an unwavering fugue. With his wild hair and flashing blades, it's hard not to think of his portrayal of Edward Scissorhands, and this film has quite the same mesmeric style and heavy elicitation of empathy, if none of the innocence. And then there's the singing ...
Depp may not be the most technically proficient singer, but his joyless monotone expresses Todd's tortured soul quite perfectly. Encompassing similarly effective efforts from Bonham-Carter's Mrs Lovett (a macabre fantasist who becomes Todd's partner in crimes), Rickman and Timothy Spall (who plays a deliciously revolting sycophant to Turpin), the film does well out of limited vocals that get the tone and mood of the story spot-on.
It's an odd combination; the essentially very downbeat and dark plot, the rolling violence as one unwitting victim after another slips into (and out of) the barber's chair, and the host of sharply-scripted ditties. It does work though. Burton uses the songs as devices to advance the plot, putting narrative to music, and this slips in so much easier than a hard story-song-story pattern would. Naturally, some songs are better than others - and they peak around the film's middle, when we've got a good feel for our characters and the tale stands on a precipice - but even the weaker efforts are no worse than forgettable.
Additionally, Burton's approach to bloodletting is firmly of the fountains-of-ketchup school; lending the film an air of farce that renders the considerable throat-slicing on show more comical than distasteful.
If there's a weakness in the film (aside from some hit-and-miss songs), it's in the limited mileage got out of Alan Rickman as villain-of-the-piece Judge Turpin. He's perfectly decent in his scenes, but the role never pushes him, and the film makes shamefully scant use of the best hammy-baddie portrayer around. With such cracking wrongdoers as Hans Grüber, Severus Snape and the Sheriff of Nottingham on his CV, Sweeney Todd could have featured a memorably villainous antagonist to drive along the vengeance - sadly, Rickman - through minimal fault on his part - goes through the motions a bit.
Other supporting performances are better-exploited, and Bonham-Carter is strong as a pie-maker with limited morals, while Spall crawls to great effect and Sacha Baron-Cohen is entertaining in his relative brevity.
This is the sixth Burton/Depp collaboration, and it's well up there with the best that either has produced together or apart. The fact that the uneasy pairing of dark theme and musical format shouldn't work only makes it all the more enjoyable when it does. A slick, strikingly-stylised piece of storytelling, this is a bloody Gothic romp that finds its star firmly on-song.
--PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE ALSO LISTED THIS REVIEW ON MY CIAO ACCOUNT, AND HAVE REFERENCED IT THERE ALSO.--
The thought of mixing a slasher film with a musical sounds, on paper, like a rather strange idea that perhaps would not really connect with a lot of audiences. Luckily though, director Tim Burton took the idea into his reigns and made the film a huge success, earning itself Golden Globe nominations and rave reviews. It seems there was an audience hankering for this subject matter after all.
Sweeney Todd marks Johnny Depp's sixth outing with his good friend, the ever-quirky director Tim Burton. Based on the rather sinister Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd sees Johnny Depp swap his usual eccentric turns for a more sombre, sinister serial killer, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Returning to London after 15 years of false imprisonment abroad, Benjamin Barker has adopted a fake alias, "Sweeney Todd", and is determined to get revenge on the Judge who not only wrongly deported him, but raped his now dead wife Lucy, and upducted his daughter, Joanna.
Sweeney quickly sets up a barbershop business in the flat above Mrs. Lovett's meatpie shop (played by the brilliant Helena Bonham Carter). All seems to be going well until Sweeney's rival, the flamboyant barber Signior Pirelli (Sascha Baron Cohen) threatens to expose him, leaving Sweeney no option but to silence him-with one of his cut-throat razors. Now with a bleeding body to dispose of, Sweeney's landlady, the pieshop owner Mrs. Lovett devises a twisted plan of her own; put the bodies to good use by using it as the filling of her pies. From then on, Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett become a unstoppable double team, with Sweeney slitting the throats of nobodies "for practice", whilst Mrs. Lovett serves them to the unknowing public in the form of her now popular meat pies. Now all Sweeney Todd needs is his old nemesis Judge Turpin (played wonderfully by Alan Rickman), to step in for a shave...
The subject matter may seem deeply sinister and serious, but Tim Burton and screenwriter John Logan manage to inject it with touching dialogue, and plenty of brilliant dark humour. Musical haters may not rejoice in the fact that most of the film is made up of musical numbers rather than dialogue, or you may be surprised to find yourself enjoying it. The songs are riddled with humour and sinister undertones, so it is not the usual cheesy, overly happy, vomit inducing romp that most musicals are (yes, I am looking at you High School Musical).
Tim Burton's cinematography really works in this film, creating a bleak looking London, with plenty of crimson blood. And yes, there is a LOT of blood, so those who are squeamish may wish to watch another film. Burton combines blacks, white and crimson colours, and whilst it all looks pretty dark for the most part, scenes involving Anthony and Joanna are a lot brighter, breaking it up a little. It is clear that Joanna is the one that radiates the happiness, especially during her song "Green Finch and Linnet Bird."
Johnny Depp as excellent as always as the troubled Sweeney Todd, even if his accent does slip into the "Jack Sparrow" voice we have grown to know and love in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. However, it is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett that truly shines in this film. Carter portrays Mrs. Lovett as an overly eccentric, yet sinister woman, who for some reason, you cannot help but take a shine to. She really does hold a significant amount of charm, even though her good intentions are not what they are cracked up to be in the film.
Tim Burton's usual musical collaborator Danny Elfman is nowhere to be seen in this film. Instead, Burton employs the assistance of the composer of the original broadway Sweeney Todd, Steven Sondheim. This was an excellent move, as the songs are lifted straight from the broadway musical, and are not changed in any way. The sweeping orchestra ensemble further add to the films soundtrack, and it really is a faithful adaptation of the broadway musical. Employing the use of non-professional actors as the singers was a risky move, but thankfully, it works. Johnny Depp having never sung before shows he has a great vocal range, and Helena Bonham Carter sings in a delightful sounding cockney accent which suits her character. Alan Rickman provides the barotone sections, which evens up the singing a bit. But it is the two younger members of the cast, Jayne Wisener as Joanna and Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony that prove to have the best singing voices. It is clear that they have sung professionally before.
Sweeney Todd is an an excellent adaptation of the broadway musical by director Tim Burton. The acting is highly impressive, as is the singing, which for the most part, is sung by actors who have not sung before. Burton's bleak take at the scenery of London really works with the tone of the film, and it is surprising that a slasher film can effortlessly work when combined with musical elements. It is very violent, and contains a lot of blood, so this may not be for everyone, but if you are prepared to give it a go, this is a stand out film from Tim Burton, and all involved.
It can be picked up for £4.98 from Amazon.co.uk.
Sweeney Todd, a personal favourite of mine and a classic tale of a vicious barber who works alongside his protoge in the murder field and has grizzly and ghastly killings taken place daily in his shop!
If youre not a horror fan then this film is really not for you because it is nothing short of grizzly and gruesome when the killings of his customers take place. Sweeney todd played by johnney depp, works alongside mrs lovett played by helena bonham carter in a dreadful plan to make money as her pie shop is failing and he needs to return to his work of barbering. They tend to their customers by slitting their throats whilst being shaved and then as the bodies are dropped below to the baking hot ovens where mrs lovett has them chopped and minced into meat for her pies!
The pies sell remarkably well with customers stating how tender the meat is and delicious therefore the business is booming and customers flock hence the barbder continues to slice his victims necks, continually supplying meat for his partners pies.
There are underlying tones of love and loss, which are incredibly profound and yet brutal in the same rendition. Johnney depps performance is as ever superb, with exquisite language and accent control of a londerner in the dark depths of smokey cobbled streets and the singing as this is a musical film, is fabulous.
I bought the soundtrack to this film the moment I had finished watching it and regularly listen to it whilst singing (embarrasingly) and never bore of it. The characters are brutal yet delightful in each way through emotion and sentiment, and love shines through continually even though brutal murders are taken place. Its funny undertones create a masterpiece that is timeless and unforgettable. You cannot fail to sing, laugh and find emotion throughout this film, but as I stated before if you are squemish then stay away. There is plenty of dripping and flooding blood within this film, with body parts and dismembered flesh. You can almost smell the scent of london in the darker aged oppressive buildings, with candle and oil lit lanterns, but the putrid scent of death is forever present.
This film has been made and remade many times as well as the story being performed as a broadway show however this particular rendition was dirceted by tim burton and has his peculiar and gruesome undertone throughout.
A must see for horror lovers and grizzly historical past alike.