It’s Like Connect 4 In Dagger Terms

Posted in film by deflowerd on February 6, 2008

I shall be reviewing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

For those who somehow do not know; this is a musical. K? Don’t go in there expecting a straight up gothic thriller. This has songs. In fact, it’s mostly singing; very little spoken dialogue is present in this film. Johnny Depp sings. Helena Bonham Carter sings. Borat sings. However, it’s not the singing, dancing spectacular that came to mind when I heard the word ‘musical’. There are no choreographed dance sequences. There is one waltz, but that doesn’t really count as only two people are involved. It was directed by goth hero Tim Burton, and by god does it show.

So there’s that little entree out of the way. On to the main meal…

A man named Sweeney Todd (Depp) steps onto the docks of London, once more a free man. He was transported (to Australia possibly?) for some crime or another, but he’s back; with a vengeance. He claims to have been set up, and his time away has transformed him into… well… a bit of a Demon. He sets up his barber shop above Mrs Lovett’s (HBC) pie… shop, and sets about finding those who wronged him and exacting some barbery revenge upon them.

This film is a big fat treat for the eyes. It is at times breathtakingly dark and at other times overwhelmingly colourful, and the digital colouring and of course the direction really make this a lovely film to watch. The performances are also pretty entertaining, with Depp shining through the Dickensian grime as the eponymous Todd. He gave an old school performance – one that harked back to the Hammer Horror films of the 50s, 60s and 70s. He didn’t overact, nor was he wooden, but it wasn’t what I’d call a contemporary performance. Then again, how many of Depp’s performances are mainstream and modern?

Helena Bonham Carter was pretty good as Lovett, and impressed me. I found her incredibly unlikable in Fight Club, but I didn’t feel much towards her here, so I suppose that’s a step forward. Unfortunately, Sacha Baron Cohen playing Senor Pirelli didn’t totally work for me. I guess that he was supposed to be over the top, but he really didn’t seem to inhabit this character. It felt like Borat was singing at me. Still entertaining, though.

Alan Rickman was good, as was Timothy Spall (Beadle Bamford), but Jamie Campbell Bower was a bit off-putting as the young hero Anthony Hope. He just.. looks… weird. Like he has down syndrome or something.

The songs sucked. I’m sorry, but they did. You could not sing along, the beat was often unidentifiable and they just didn’t make me feel anything at all. There was not one uptempo song in the whole damn movie. I know the plot itself is fairly downbeat, but c’mon! It has to be entertaining.

Strangely, I found the movie very entertaining even though I found the songs boring. Why? I suppose the songs resembled spoken dialogue enough to just filter into my brain as spoken dialogue. The plot was great, the violence was hilarious, and Depp was brilliant.

I should make mention of Tim Burton. He directed this movie to perfection. It has an overwhelming visual style, one that forces you to enter the world the film portrays. I really can’t stress enough how great this film looks, above all else.

See this movie. If you don’t like musicals, see it with ear plugs in, but see it.

3 and a half out of 5

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3 Responses

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  1. Isis said, on April 5, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I loved this movie. I agree with you when you say, don’t see it expecting a horror movie.
    I did, and the first time I saw it I found it a bit dull.
    On the contrary, I love the songs in this film and fell in love with the movie the second time I saw it.

  2. yolanda said, on May 22, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I agree with, Isis, the songs are great, they aren’t supposed to be uptempo, it’s a thriller.
    I absolutley love the Burton/Depp combination, and have seen and loved all their movies.

  3. Heather said, on May 25, 2008 at 9:40 am

    I loved your review I think it was completely perfect. I loved the film but I would like to point out that there is at least one uptempo song, ‘Perilli’s Miracle Elixir ‘ is quite upbeat. I enjoyed that one the most out of all of them. Your right it really is like a huge feast of cake but for the eyes 🙂

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