The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
|Title||:||Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street|
|Release Date||:||December 20, 2007|
|Genres||:||Drama, Horror, Music|
|Production Co.||:||Warner Bros., DreamWorks Pictures, Tim Burton Productions, Zanuck Company, The, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation|
|Production Countries||:||United Kingdom, United States of America|
|Writers||:||John Logan, Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler|
|Casts||:||Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener, Ed Sanders, Laura Michelle Kelly, Anthony Stewart Head, Buck Holland, David McKail, Sophie Morris-Sheppard, Colin Higgins|
|Plot Keywords||:||confession, corset, asylum, razor, villain, widow, beggar, blood splatter, sondheim, child in peril, blood on shirt, cane, lust, violence, person on fire, incest, shaving, social injustice, based on stage musical, oven, beadle, uxoricide, seaman, mother figure, infatuation, folk tale|
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Reviews
- A refreshing and brilliant filmby 13 December 2007on
390 out of 535 people found the following review useful:
Contrary to the many comments I have read and heard about the film thus far, I thought it was absolutely wonderful. After what some could term a "dry spell" for Tim Burton, it is such a breath of fresh air to see this new offering, Sweeney Todd. The movie showed Tim returning to his roots of the dark, the sinister, and the macabre. All were blended together in the setting he is so very well-known for, the dark streets of London.
In addition, I thought the fact that he maintained the musical aspect of the film/play worked in the movie's favor. I know Johnny Depp has said that he can't sing, but he sang rather well if you ask me. Keeping the cockney accent, whether singing or not, it made the film that much better. While I was surprised to see Danny Elfman not included in this movie, I believe the music was performed and carried out beautifully, nonetheless. Indeed, the accents can at times make it hard to discern what is being said, but that's not always a bad thing, considering the circumstances. Were they to all of a sudden not speak or sing with their cockney tones, it may provide a problem with consistency. Overall, I loved the movie and have no complaints. A very refreshing return to the realms and themes that Tim Burton is so very amazing at capturing. Top notch!
- Dark Humor Done Rightby 5 December 2007on
369 out of 517 people found the following review useful:
Despite the grim expectations from the story synopsis, the film delivers gore in a surprisingly tasteful way. There are no screaming teenagers running from a lunatic; instead we get a somewhat British blend of satire, slapstick and just "wrong" humor. Although I'm not much of a Johnny Depp fan, I enjoyed his performance as well as Helena Bonham Carter's. Even the portrayal of the common clients was stunning.
Despite being generally familiar with the story, I fell into some traps expecting specific twists, yet something different (and better) being delivered. This is a model of how to do dark humor that filmmakers should and probably will follow. It is most refreshing. Don't read the story and don't read any spoilers until you've seen it.
- Tim Burton's most dramatically satisfying film so far.by 17 December 2007on
271 out of 378 people found the following review useful:
I approached Sweeney Todd with trepidation, having been underwhelmed with most of Tim Burton's recent output and every screen musical of the last decade. The biggest problem I have with Burton's films is that his screenplays rarely manage to pull their disparate elements into a satisfying whole. Here, despite adapting the material to his own sensibilities and shortening the play by an hour, he adheres closely to Sondheim's book, resulting in the most dramatically satisfying film Burton has ever made.
I liked the adaptation of the off-off Broadway Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but have been left underwhelmed by all the recent big budget film musicals, so I'm glad to say that Sweeney Todd, wipes the floor with every major screen musical of the last decade, including the likable if over extended Hairspary. Most surprising is how shockingly gruesome the the film becomes in the second half. This must be the most blood drenched film since Shogun Assassin, with arteries spurting blood like like fountains as throats are cut, with the violence escalating towards the end leading towards a climax that is exhilarating, heartbreaking and satisfyingly bleak.
Unlike the dreary dirges Danny Elfman supplied for Burton's stop frame musicals, Sondheim's score is a joy to listen to from beginning to end, its dark romanticism sometimes reminding me of Bernhard Herrmann, perfectly fitting what is both a musical and a horror film in equal measures.
Depp and Bonham Carter are both excellent and it's down to their performances that I never quite lost sympathy with them in their descent into madness, blood lust and cannibalism.
Musical haters may not be converted as 75% percent of the dialogue is sung, but this completely dispatches any notion of cloying sentimentally the genre is often associated with.
- Awesome, dark and funny. Classic Tim Burton stuff.by 11 December 2007on
286 out of 423 people found the following review useful:
Good dark fun.
I knew nothing of this movie except Tim Burton and Johnny Depp had something to do with it, and that, as the executive director put it, there was "lots of blood". I don't think of myself as liking musicals, although I should probably reconsider now.
I had a moment of dread when the movie started and there was a mention of Sacha Baron Cohen being in it. However his performance was in fact quite good. While his acting has a few things in common with his over-the-top Borat character, it somehow fits rather well within the movie.
Some elements of the plot are rather predictable, in a Greek tragedy sort of way, but it doesn't really detract from the movie. We get to enjoy the downward spiral even though we know its shape.
All in all, the movie was awesome, filled with damned and hopeless characters that still made you laugh at every turn.
- Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd!by 2 December 2007on
199 out of 253 people found the following review useful:
Attend the Tale! This is a major must-see film. It's first and foremost a musical, with essentially all the characters singing throughout, but it's also horrific and hilarious. If cheerful musicals aren't your thing, never fear this is Sweeney Todd a very darkly comic and tragic tale. This is a faithful but unique adaptation of the award-winning and much beloved stage musical by Stephen Sondheim, with few cuts and changes. Contrary to some musicals where the songs aren't necessary to the basic plot, these 'meaty' songs tell the tale. Sweeney Todd is a throat-slashing barber (an urban legend) obsessed with revenge. His accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, is smitten with unrequited love and brings new meaning to "waste not, want not" in her meat-pie bakery.
Tim Burton is at his best, artfully meshing the powerful and beautiful music with stunning visuals. He successfully creates a much more intimate atmosphere than can be achieved on stage, with characters up-close and personal, and he makes brilliant use of light/dark contrasts and color. Although none of the actors (except Kelly) are professional singers, each character is portrayed very effectively with the acting and singing combined. The cinematography, set designs, costumes, and makeup are all striking. The horrific moments are graphically brutal and gory Burton does not skimp on the blood, and it even becomes intentionally over-the-top (the camera lens is splattered at one point). But it does not seem gratuitous in that it IS the reality of the story, and it also has a metaphorical role. The violence IS disturbing, but you can cover your eyes if you're squeamish (it's only a few scenes). There are also hilarious moments especially "The Contest" with a rival barber (Cohen), and the dreamy "By the Sea" sequence.
And can Johnny Depp sing? And how! Not only does he sing Sondheim, and sing it well, but he creates a refreshingly new interpretation of this complex character, and does an amazing job acting the part through the singing, staying 100% in character and accent throughout. He goes from lovingly crooning to his razors in "My Friends" to thrilling madness in "Epiphany." Rather than a booming, operatic baritone with grand gestures, his is a more subdued but intense Sweeney. As the (cut) ballad says, he's odd, pale, subtle, and smooth. It's a great character, and an excellent and Oscar-worthy performance. Johnny Depp IS Sweeney Todd! But perhaps the best thing about this movie is that it isn't just about Sweeney. It's filled with other interesting characters, and the entire cast is remarkable. Carter's voice is a bit thin, but she creates a very adorable and complex Mrs. Lovett. She is a wonderfully colorful and humorous contrast to the dark and gloomy Sweeney. The judge (Rickman), Pirelli (Cohen), beadle (Spall), and Lucy (Kelly) all seem perfect to me. Anthony (Bower), Johanna (Wisener), and Toby (Sanders) are all very young and innocent, with angelic voices, and little Toby is a scene-stealer.
This movie is thoroughly entertaining and it leaves the audience in a stunned silence. I can't wait to see it again!
- A Conventicle of Geniuses Came Together Hereby 20 December 2007on
248 out of 372 people found the following review useful:
And this conventicle has brought us a glistening and irresistible nightmare. There are delicious Dickensian overtones throughout, and the look of the film itself is poetically potent. The entire mix is shockingly seductive with an unforgettable ending. Burton's humor is part and parcel of his sheer brilliance, as always, and, as always, the great Johnny Depp is intense and positively unforgettable. All performances are electric, the pace and length are perfect, and the film draws us deeper and deeper with every moment into its stunning blend of the grotesque and the undeniably beautiful. Analysing the power of a film like this is no simple matter. The whole is dazzlingly disturbing. You don't want to miss a second of it, even though the film is merciless to us and to its protagonists. It sings, it glows, it enchants, it horrifies. I want to see it again. And again. It's a brutal and shattering masterpiece.
- Sublimeby 1 March 2008on
159 out of 203 people found the following review useful:
As it happens more often than not, greatness is relegated to some obscure angle. In a year of brilliant opuses by the Cohen Brothers and PT Anderson, this Tim Burton film shines as the best from every angle. It's not just that Burton creates another superb, dark universe with Dante Ferretti's complicity or that Johnnt Deep breaks new ground, or that Helena Bonham Carter surprises us with a complex, marvelous realistic parody. The film touches visually a very private cord. Ed Wood managed that but Tim Burton with "Sweeny Todd" elevates it to the purest form of art. He will be punished for that, as Ed Wood was in its day. Disappointing grosses in a world that worship grosses will make it appear as a sort of a failure. My advise to you is run to see it wherever you can find it. Try to see it in a big screen with great sound. You will fly and dream and be taken away by the masterful hands of Tim Burton and the glorious faces of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
- Tim Burton Claims Sweeney As His Own!by 21 December 2007on
173 out of 236 people found the following review useful:
As a fan of the original stage version of this grimly Gothic tale, going into Sweeney Todd was bittersweet in my hopes and expectations. However, I'm pleased to announce that I did find Burton's latest effort impressive and intentional. Fans of the original won't be disappointed with a top-notch cast and the wonderfully dark overtures that haunt every minute of Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton, one of the masters of ambiance, sets his atmosphere in the grisly streets of a depressed London and his artistry punctures through every scene of screen time. I would have to clarify that, while Johnny Depp is a skilled actor, fans of the original will find it hard to believe that Depp has the ability to transform into the George Hearn "Sweeny" we've come to know. This is in fact true and recognized by Burton. In this respect, the character of Depp is not played as the same manner as the deep-voiced, towering Todd from the musical adaptation. Depp's is more of a less boisterous and thoughtful one. The vocal performances are great but have a different approach and feel to them. It was a refreshing adaptation and I feel a triumph on the part of Burton for making a stage-to-screen experience that captures you from it's bloody introduction.
- Gloriously Darkby 1 March 2008on
147 out of 190 people found the following review useful:
Tim Burton has gone beyond himself and anything he has ever done. "Sweeney Todd" is stunningly beautiful. Dark? yes, bloody? sure! but then we're in Victorian London where everything is what it appears to be no matter how turgid. The meeting of Mr Todd and Mrs Lovett is so scrumptiously conceived that I'm sure will be one of those film moments that are used whenever "great film moments" are compiled. Johnny Depp will never cease to amaze me. He is not just the beautiful boy with soulful eyes, but a great actor. How extraordinary that two talents like Burton and Depp should meet at the perfect moment in time. How lucky for us! Mrs Lovett is played by another extraordinary actor: Helena Bonham Carter. She is spectacular! Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman and in particular Timothy Spall add to the perfection of this film. Dante Ferreti, the production designer and Coleen Attwood, the costume designer, deserve all the kudos they are getting and will get. Glorious!
- Burton does better than anyone else . . .by 14 December 2007on
149 out of 230 people found the following review useful:
"At last, my arm is complete again." Sweeney Todd as he admires one of his efficient razors after a long absence.
I'm not sure Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd is "grand," but I'm confident it's in the best Grand Guignol tradition of sensational stage horror given its name from that little theater in early 20th century Paris that specialized in sensationally ghoulish productions. I am also sure that no one in film is better able to play the titular butcher than the shape-shifting, ever-naughty Johnny Depp.
The opening song "No Place Like London" hints to Anglophiles like me that it won't be my usual tour of West End theaters, rather a seedy, dangerous place where Mac the Knife would be more at home. Throughout the musical, Steven Sondheim's lyrics expressively revel in the amoral, throat-slicing world that Sweeney and his adoring meatpie lady, Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham-Carter), wallow in as he prepares to take revenge on the equally amoral Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who dispatched Todd to prison early on to get his beautiful young wife. Hence Sweeney's revenge inclination.
Sweeney's lyric best expresses the wildly murderous world, hardly the usual province of musicals: "Alright! You, Sir?/No one's in the chair come on, come on/Sweeney's waiting/I want you bleeders./You sir! Too sir?/Welcome to the grave./I will have vengeance./I will have salvation . . . ." Yes, it's Sleepy-Hollow, Corpse-Bride Tim Burton's movie with blood spouting like red paint from a pressure gun contrasting the somber, almost black and white underside of London. When one of the children bites into a pie with a finger in it (shades of our contemporary law suits!), the audience doesn't even gasp, given the omnipresence of bloody bodies.
There is no more interesting musical this year, even considering the enchanting Once. In the end, it is unsettling, unsavory, and unusual. Burton does better than anyone else in juxtaposing horror with innocence.
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