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Sweeney Todd

The stubbornly gothic Tim Burton has always been a visionary director and a so-so writer. That's why it's nice to see him working with classic material: Stephen Sondheim's dark musical, Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

I saw it on Broadway last year with bald tenor Michael Cerveris & the great Patti LuPone. No one in the movie can belt it out like them, but the casting is nonetheless very inspired. Johnny Depp, looking more like Keith Richards every day, is intense as a widower seeking revenge in his barber shop (and yes, he can sing). Helena Bonham Carter, hot even with raccoon eyes, is bewitching as the proprietress of Mrs. Lovett's meat pies, "the worst pies in London". Alan Rickman is his villainous self as the judge who abducted Todd's wife and daughter. Whoever plays the judge's assistant is PERFECT; he's right out of Tom Jones. And Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat) steals the show as Pirelli, an opera-singing barber & con man.

Sweeney Todd kills people; he slits their throats with shaving razors. And unlike on Broadway, where he'd pull a red handkerchief from customer's collars to symbolize blood, here the throat slitting is gory, with jugulars spouting blood everywhere. But the blood is fakey bright red, or at least looks that way against Burton's monochromatic blue palette. The bodies are then ground up for Mrs. Lovett's meat pies. Sounds horrible, but it's done with great wit, especially in Sondheim's libretto:

Have a little priest.
Is it really good?
Sir, it's too good, at least!
They don't commit sins of the flesh,
So it's pretty fresh.
Awful lot of fat.
Only where it sat.
Haven't you got poet
or something like that?

The trouble with poet
is 'ow do you know it's deceased?
Try the priest!

If you're appalled by that kind of black humor, Sweeney Todd is probably not for you. But if Hairspray gave you cavities & you're looking for a musical with a little more bite, go see it.. Sweeney Todd is one of the best movies of the year.

**** (4 stars out of 4)
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Freakalicious Freestyler
Most defenitily one of the best..Yes Tim Burton is a little goth and dark, but he is true to himself, and to each his own. I think he is so full of talent and creativity that some people are afraid of. Yes the blood seems so fake, but I think he meant to do that. See it from a different point than from "regular " peoples view. See it through an artist view..he knows its fake , we all know its fake, he just embellishes it for us.
But yes 4 out of 4 stars! :yes:
Thank you for your very nice review ;)