Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Bloody Brilliant, 20 February 2010

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

A stellar ensemble delivers a cinematic delight as Director Tim Burton delivers his trademark unique twists to this traditional tale. The dark cinematography, and cartoon like CGI, creates a wonderfully chaotic, and grim 19th Century London. The music and lyrics are the work of veteran songs smith Stephen Sondheim, in a production where a significant part of the plot is sung through, which may put some people off. However I found it a joy to have a high quality musical score underwriting a good story, well told.

Johnny Depp plays the eponymous role and is fast becoming the leading actor of his generation. His London accent is quite good, if alarmingly close to that of Jack Sparrow, from Pirates of the Caribbean. His charming, but deranged Barber is a wonderful creation, which he has much fun with. His Mistress is played by a sleazily over the top Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen has a marvellous cameo as a cod-Italian travelling snake oil salesman. Judge Turpin, the “baddie” is inevitably played by Alan Rickman who excels in a small role, ably assisted by the portly Timothy Spall, his sidekick.

Essentially a Musical Horror film, Burton revels in the blood drenched plot with plenty of humorous visual gags to assuage the slaughter which unfold before us. The macabre and gory detail might be too much in less experienced hands but the artificial dreamlike quality of the Cinematography steers the audience away from the verite which if portrayed in a realistic setting would have been very uncomfortable.

A fine effort from one of the most original and imaginative Directors working today.

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