"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of
Directed by Tim Burton.
Written by John Logan. Based on the play by Stephen
Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.
Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Jamie Campbell Bower
and Alan Rickman.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 12/31/07
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp know how to make
movies, so add them to a great script from the Stephen Sondheim play
and an incredible production design and you get "Sweeney Todd: The
Demon Barber of Fleet Street", a violent, nasty,
Benjamin Barker (Depp) has been locked away
in prison for the last 15 years...and, when Barker arrives in his
hometown London as the film opens, he changes his name to Sweeney
Todd and proclaims that he will have vengeance on the man that put
him away, a judge named Turpin (Alan Rickman). This man Turpin
is a nasty bugger--he threw Barker into jail just to have a chance
to seduce Barker's wife (Laura Michelle Kelly) and, after the wife
denies Turpin's advances, he takes Barker's young daughter away and
raises her, only in hopes of seducing her, too! So, after
getting back to London, Barker-now-Todd returns to the barber shop
where he once worked, in the hopes that he can track down Turpin and
get him into his shop for one very, very close shave.
Assisting him is the new owner of the shop, Mrs. Lovett (Helena
My thing with musicals is always how the
songs are balanced against the non-singing portions of the film; I
loved the mix of that in "Sweeney Todd" thanks to the efforts of the
performers and the funny song lyrics amidst the macabre nature of
the proceedings. We know that Depp will be great, but I was
surprised at how much I liked the songs by the other actors in this
film, particularly one-offs by Rickman and the nasty sidekick played
by Timothy Spall, as well as Carter and Ed Sanders, a child actor
who eventually plays a servant to Mrs. Lovett and her "meat pies"
operation. The songs are great, but they support such a
good-looking film and a film that is so soaked in blood it becomes
riotous by the time the thing is over.
I mean, nasty! I don't think some
people near me were prepared for the level of blood gushing and then
body-crunching sequences that "Sweeney Todd" has. I,
naturally, loved that this was the angle taken by Burton, who did
similarly-nasty work with "Sleepy
Hollow"; boy, even watching some of the bodies hit the floor
after Todd finishes up his work with them is nasty. However,
this will turn off some folks who are a bit squeamish about this
kind of stuff.
But, overall, I loved "Sweeney Todd" and
would recommend it for folks even if they don't like musicals.
It is still a fun, vengeful film anyway, just not something I would
take grandma to see!!
Rating: Opening Weekend
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard