Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (18)



Musical (2007)
116mins US

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen
Director: Tim Burton
Writer(s): John Logan, Christopher Bond, Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Falsely imprisoned for 15 years by nefarious Judge Turpin, who steals his wife Lucy and baby daughter, Benjamin Barker returns to London in the guise of Sweeney Todd and establishes a barbershop above the ailing pie-making business of Nellie Lovett. Sweeney vents his rage by slicing the throats of the unsuspecting customers then grinding up their bodies as succulent filling for Mrs Lovett's hot bakes. All the while, he waits patiently to give Judge Turpin the closest shave of his pitiful life.

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LondonNet Film Review
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony Award-winning musical fits visionary director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) like a glove...

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The evil Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman, left) is about to get his comeuppance from the vengeful Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp, right) in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet. Street. Leah Gallo.  2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and DreamWorks LLC. All RightsA tragically flawed and tormented hero at odds with the world around him (a wonderfully pungent 19th-century London), deathly dark humour, explosions of savagery: this is the stuff of nightmares. If Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street is gruesome on stage, on film it is - literally - a bloodbath. There is nowhere to hide as Burton goes for the jugular with his depiction of a vengeful man, who takes a razorblade to the inviting throat of a capital awash with villains and cheats. The screen drips with arterial spray as freshly severed necks jettison more glistening blood than seems humanly possible. Dante Ferretti's evocative sets, dripping with grime and vermin, and Colleen Atwood's costumes are soaked the deepest ruby red by the unforgettable climax. Anyone of a nervous disposition should look away now...

Sweeney Todd. Production photo by leah gallo.  2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and DreamWorks LLC. All Rights Reserved. Falsely imprisoned for 15 years by nefarious Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who steals his wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly) and child, Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) returns to London in the guise of Sweeney Todd and establishes a barbershop above the ailing pie shop owned by Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter). Sweeney vents his rage by slicing the throats of unsuspecting customers then grinding up their bodies as succulent filling for Mrs Lovett's hot bakes. Her shop thrives and Mrs Lovett takes plucky street urchin Toby (Ed Sanders) under her wing, to help serve customers. All the while, Sweeney waits patiently to give Judge Turpin and his odious henchman Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall) the closest shaves of their pitiful, scheming lives.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street is not for the squeamish. Burton doesn't shy away from the violence, and if the copious bloodletting doesn't chill to the bone, then the sound of the hitting a stone floor head first with a stomach-churning crunch certainly will. Translated to the screen by John Logan with musical adaptation by Christopher Bond, this version of Sondheim and Wheeler's masterpiece refocuses attention on Sweeney, Nellie and Toby at the expense of the other characters.

Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp, left) takes Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter, right) into his confidence in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Warner Bros. Copyright  2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Some songs are lost in their entirety, weakening the love story of young sailor Anthony (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Sweeney's now teenage daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener). Sporting a streak of shocking white hair, reminiscent of Elsa Lanchester in Bride Of Frankenstein, Depp brings his own distinctive take to the central role. His singing voice is impressive, with a deep rich timbre that resonates during songs such as "My Friends" and "Pretty Women". Helena Bonham Carter's singing voice is thin and reedy in comparison, but she relishes the humour of her role, especially her solo, "Worst Pies In London", during which Sweeney foolishly samples one of Nellie's putrid wares. "Trust me, dearie," she cackles, "it's gonna take more than ale to wash that taste out". Burton's full-blooded film will linger just as long.

-Jo Planter

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