Reel Deal: Sweeney Todd a cut above the rest


Usually when Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaborate for a movie, I will want to see it.

Depp is probably my favorite actor, mainly because he takes very strange roles and I like the look of Burton directed movies. They are lovely in their own unique way, and oddness always attracts me like a moth to a flame. When I read that they were making “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and it was going to be released around Christmas, my interest was piqued. Then I saw the trailer with Depp singing (flashed back to Cry-Baby), the crazy hair, gothic makeup. Throw in a role for Helena Bonham Carter, and I knew this would be a must-see.

I had no previous knowledge of the storyline, except that it was a long-running musical by Stephen Sondheim and even featured Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett on Broadway.

From what I know now from the movie perspective, “Sweeney Todd” is about a barber that is taken to prison all 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 now the ward of the corrupt Judge Turpin, whose intentions toward her are anything but parental.

Naturally, Sweeney Todd wants vengeance upon the Judge and his rat-like henchman Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall). He then 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 wonderful Mrs. Lovett (Bonham Carter) who harbors a love for Todd and willingly disposes of the bodies by making meat pies out of them, then burning the leftovers in the oven.

“Sweeney Todd” is a very 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. This technique makes the colorful masquerade ball scene seem out of place, especially considering what happened during it. Do people not know that nothing good happens during 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 the 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 gave this film a B.

Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.


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