Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (DVD)
Tim Burton: Hollywood’s undisputed champion of gothic horror. Sweeney Todd: a psycho barber and famous purveyor of dodgy pies. Chaps, what took you so long? It was screamingly obvious what a gorgeous couple you would make when the curtain lifted on Stephen Sondheim’s penny dreadful in 1979. You have so much in common: a love of London’s dark and menacing streets; a penchant for jokes that only Edgar Allan Poe could possibly find funny; and an unquenchable thirst for fresh blood.
I’ve rarely seen a film director so perfectly matched to a musical. The black magic begins when Johnny Depp’s white-faced Sweeney steals up the Thames at the dead of night. As the boat slips under a spooky London Bridge it becomes quite clear that Burton was put on earth to shoot this glorious melodrama. The wonder is that it’s taken him nearly 30 years. True, most of the cast had to grow up, and a lot of clever special effects needed to be invented. I suspect the real brakes, however, were applied by studios horrified by the idea of an ‘art house musical’.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The film unfolds like the Grimmest of tales. Depp’s bitter Sweeney returns to London after 15 years of hurt. His painful story emerges in hollow songs with haunting off-key melodies. He wears his grievances like armour. His plan to murder the men who condemned him to a penal colony in order to rape his wife hinges around the dismal attic above Mrs Lovett’s ailing pie shop. The atmosphere is vintage Hammer House. The gleaming monochrome shots of cobbled streets are drained of colour.
The musical chemistry between Depp and Helena Bonham Carter’s genial cockney pie shop mistress is terrific. Casting Depp as the stony avenger was hardly a novel stretch for Burton (who has frequently collaborated with the actor) and the director didn’t have to get out of bed to find Mrs Lovett. Bonham Carter (Burton's real-life partner) hasn’t sunk her teeth into such a rich part for years. Lovett’s unreciprocated passion for Sweeney is the heart of the film and she is far more interesting than Depp. Her lightbulb idea of stuffing Sweeney’s clients into pies seems wonderfully sensible.
The film's pace is a surprise. Burton has pruned Sondheim’s arias to fit the tempo of a thriller and the villains are far less stocky. Sacha Baron Cohen delivers a priceless cameo as a jealous unisex rival with plans to blackmail Sweeney. Alan Rickman is a sinister pleasure as Judge Turpin. And Timothy Spall is equally effective as his ultra-violent enforcer, Beadle Bamford. Several patches of fantasy don’t work, but these are few and far between.
Burton has never been one to spare the gore. The sound of skulls cracking open when Sweeney tosses his victims head first into the basement is not for the faint-hearted. The director’s knack of finding comedy in these ghastly scenes is tested to the limit. So something for everyone then.
Great movie !! :D
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Tim Burton's film adaptation of "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" smacks its lips at the prospect of such a meal, and so it should. In telling this story, half-measures will avail him nothing. The bloodiest musical in stage history, it now becomes the bloodiest in film history, and it isn't a jolly romp, either, but a dark revenge tragedy with heartbreak, mayhem and bloody good meat pies.
But we know that going in and are relieved that Burton has played true to the material. Here is one scenario that is proof against a happy ending.
excellent fun, dark and moody
enjoyed the singing, great cast, very dark and moody, great twists throughout, a very good watch. I have seen many versions off sweeny todd the fleet street demon barber, however this is one off the best, if you like musicals , you will love this, for sure!!
Heart felt music - but NOT for the faint hearted
Described as "a bleedin' masterpiece"' by the Daily Mail this superb musical, by the maestro Stephen Sondheim, has found its way from the theatre stage onto DVD.
Starring Johnny Depp in his Oscar nominated title role as the 'Demon Barber of Fleet Street' the story follows the actions of a man deeply wronged, who comes back in search of revenge... a revenge taken whilst performing his trade as a barber, with a cut-throat razor in hand ! - and all this taking place above the kitchen of his new girlfriends Pie Shop. She needs a regular supply of meat, and so the barber's chair is adapted to tilt, with a trapdoor leading to the 'meat' department down below.
The scenes are graphic (definitely NOT for the children, or the faint hearted) but the music and songs and a triumph, catching the emotion of a gruesome, but strangely touching story. Love, revenge, hate, and a fair spattering of 'black' humour in this great musical.
Not to your taste ?? - then why not try a PIE... they're really delicious!
Great DVD - highly recommended.
Erm....It a Burton/Depp movie - say no more -
***JOHNNY DEPP*** is just the best actor!
Also a creditable performance from Helena Bonah-Carter - not useually her biggest fan - but a Mrs Lovett she seriously rocked and made me laugh loads.
Won't even try spell his name but 'Borat' was amazingly funny too!
Quite blood thirtsy in places - but a really fantastic made film -
If you like musical and Tim Burton films then this one is a must see.