Monday, 28 January 2008

Film Review: Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (cinema)

Johnny Depp is excellent in the title role, bringing an unnerving menace to Sweeney Todd whilst making the torment he feels from his past wholly believable. Helena Bonham Carter again does well as Mrs. Lovett. Both Depp and Carter, despite not being professional singers, handle the large amount of songs their characters sing well throughout. I'm in no way an expert in singing, but I was particularly impressed by Depp. Sacha Baron Cohen puts in a sterling comedy performance as Pirelli; Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall unsurprisingly don't disappoint; and the rest of the supporting cast are also solid.

Not being familiar with the stage musical, I can't make comparisons to that. The film is polished and gothically stylised, with echoes of previous Tim Burton films (such as and Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns) coming through. The plot advances well, if a little slowly to begin with, but the pace soon picks up. The music, presumably taken from the stage production, suits Burton's dark and grimy London well.

Generally there were no major faults with the film. If you're not one for songs in films, or musicals in general, then this is probably one to avoid even if you're a Johnny Depp or Tim Burton fan. I'd also warn those who are not fans of gore, as many of the death scenes are fairly brutal, occasionally verging on the gratuitous.

Verdict: a solid and enjoyable film, well made and acted. Tim Burton continues to impress. 8/10

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