Nothing like a light hearted Sondheim musical to lift your spirits!
First, let me state for the record my horrific fear and squeamishness related to blades and other sharp metal objects, blood, and well, slit throats in general. Admittedly, I watched the film via glimpses between fingers as I hid behind my hands and also my knees which were up in my seat through the majority of the film. (There’s something about keeping your feet off the floor and your legs curled up close to your body when you’re afraid that really does help.)
Despite all that, it was a spellbinding film in true Tim Burton style that was darkly beautiful and captivating. The plot as well as the musical interpretations remained true to the original Broadway production, and the cinematography was fantastic on the big screen.
Furthermore, Johnny Depp nailed the character of Sweeney Todd. How does he do it? He’s one of the few Hollywood pretty boy actors who has avoided being type cast as such, and every role he plays is so diverse and off the wall yet still somehow believable. The major surprise was that he can also sing.
Alan Rickman, particularly cast as a wickedly villainous character, has such presence that it is difficult to take your eyes off him. Fortunately, Johnny Depp is charismatic enough to hold his own and not be upstaged by the talented Rickman. They made a great nemesis pair.
My only criticism is that, although I am typically impressed by Helena Bonham Carter’s acting ability, I wasn’t quite sold on her as Mrs. Lovett. I can’t quite put my finger on it. She looked magnificent during the seaside scene, but perhaps it was her singing, or the somewhat weak Lovett/Todd chemistry. It was a minor infraction though, and I will no doubt run right out to see her next film regardless of my ambiguitity about her as Mrs. Lovett.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is frightening and gory, and the songs will be stuck in your head for days, but despite all that, if you haven’t already seen it, you should definitely run right out and “attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.”