Thursday, October 23, 2008

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Timothy Spall


"Never Forget. Never Forgive."




From the actor who gave us memorable celluloid characters such as Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, Ed Wood and Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp is back to regale us with yet another fascinating character. This time he is Sweeney Todd. A barber who returns after years of imprisonment to exact revenge on his perpetrators. Plus he sings too!

How's that for versatility?

Ably directed by Tim Burton who gathers the same stars (Johnny Depp and Burton's wife Helena Bonham Carter) from his previous animated movie, "The Corpse Bride", this dark horror musical is set in London during the Victorian era. Under such bleak setting, the catchy yet sinister songs of Sondheim permeates throughout the film. Lending their voices as well as their brilliant performances in supporting roles are Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen and Timothy Spall. Surprisingly all of them can carry a tune despite having no musical/vocal training.

The plot line is understandably dark with violent scenes of Sweeney Todd's hapless victims yet since most of the dialogue is sung, you don't cringe that much. The crisp cinematography of squalid surroundings was very authentic. I, especially like the effect where Burton would add color to his scenes depicting happy moments. A good contrast against the bleak, almost caricature like sequences of squalor. Another masterful effect was the way the blood spurted from the slashed necks of the victims. It seemed like someone had accidentally burst open a can of red paint. It certainly heightened the gory effect of the scenes.

Overall, it is an entertainingly good movie with 'quirky' characters and a dark plot buoyed by equally sinister songs which only a wicked mind like Tim Burton can deliver.

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