Usually, when Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaborate on a movie, I want to see it.
Depp is one of my favorite actors, mainly because he takes strange roles. Plus, I like the look of Burton-directed movies. Their oddness attracts me like a moth to a flame.
When I read that Depp and Burton were making “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and it was going to be released around Christmas, my interest was piqued. When I saw the trailer with Depp singing in crazy hair and gothic makeup accompanied by Helen Bonham Carter as a co-star, I knew the movie was a must-see. This was despite knowing little about the story other than it was a long-running musical by Stephen Sondheim and featured Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett on Broadway.
Now, I at least know the movie version of the Sweeney Todd story. It’s about a barber who is taken to prison because a certain someone, the powerful Judge Turpin (played by the wonderful Alan Rickman), covets his wife.
Fifteen years later, he (now Sweeney Todd instead of Benjamin Barker) returns to London to find out his fair-haired wife poisoned herself with arsenic and his daughter, Joanna, is the ward of the corrupt Judge Turpin, whose intentions toward her are not so parental.
Naturally, Sweeney Todd wants vengeance upon the judge and his rat-like henchman Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall). Then he decides everyone else is worthless and kills them while they wait for a close shave in his barber’s chair.
To stay undetected, he teams up with the Mrs. Lovett (Bonham Carter) who harbors a love for Todd. She willingly dispatches the bodies by making meat pies out of them, then burning the leftovers in the oven.
“Sweeney Todd” is a strange, interesting, bloody and beautiful movie. Most of the film is captured in a dreary colored atmosphere to go along with the mood of the flick. That made the colorful masquerade ball scene seem out of place, especially considering what happened during it. Don’t people know that nothing good happens at masquerade balls? You just have to refer to “The Labyrinth” (1986) to know what I mean, but the yummy David Bowie makes up for it.
This definitely is not a “feel good” holiday movie, but if you love watching Depp and Burton films, or are in a grisly mood from spending too much of your hard-earned money on Christmas presents, “Sweeney Todd” is something to catch.
I give this film a B.
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.