Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd!10/10
Attend the Tale! This is a major must-see film. It's first and foremost a musical, with essentially all the characters singing throughout, but it's also horrific and hilarious. If cheerful musicals aren't your thing, never fear this is Sweeney Todd a very darkly comic and tragic tale. This is a faithful but unique adaptation of the award-winning and much beloved stage musical by Stephen Sondheim, with few cuts and changes. Contrary to some musicals where the songs aren't necessary to the basic plot, these 'meaty' songs tell the tale. Sweeney Todd is a throat-slashing barber (an urban legend) obsessed with revenge. His accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, is smitten with unrequited love and brings new meaning to "waste not, want not" in her meat-pie bakery.
Tim Burton is at his best, artfully meshing the powerful and beautiful music with stunning visuals. He successfully creates a much more intimate atmosphere than can be achieved on stage, with characters up-close and personal, and he makes brilliant use of light/dark contrasts and color. Although none of the actors (except Kelly) are professional singers, each character is portrayed very effectively with the acting and singing combined. The cinematography, set designs, costumes, and makeup are all striking. The horrific moments are graphically brutal and gory Burton does not skimp on the blood, and it even becomes intentionally over-the-top (the camera lens is splattered at one point). But it does not seem gratuitous in that it IS the reality of the story, and it also has a metaphorical role. The violence IS disturbing, but you can cover your eyes if you're squeamish (it's only a few scenes). There are also hilarious moments especially "The Contest" with a rival barber (Cohen), and the dreamy "By the Sea" sequence.
And can Johnny Depp sing? And how! Not only does he sing Sondheim, and sing it well, but he creates a refreshingly new interpretation of this complex character, and does an amazing job acting the part through the singing, staying 100% in character and accent throughout. He goes from lovingly crooning to his razors in "My Friends" to thrilling madness in "Epiphany." Rather than a booming, operatic baritone with grand gestures, his is a more subdued but intense Sweeney. As the (cut) ballad says, he's odd, pale, subtle, and smooth. It's a great character, and an excellent and Oscar-worthy performance. Johnny Depp IS Sweeney Todd! But perhaps the best thing about this movie is that it isn't just about Sweeney. It's filled with other interesting characters, and the entire cast is remarkable. Carter's voice is a bit thin, but she creates a very adorable and complex Mrs. Lovett. She is a wonderfully colorful and humorous contrast to the dark and gloomy Sweeney. The judge (Rickman), Pirelli (Cohen), beadle (Spall), and Lucy (Kelly) all seem perfect to me. Anthony (Bower), Johanna (Wisener), and Toby (Sanders) are all very young and innocent, with angelic voices, and little Toby is a scene-stealer.
This movie is thoroughly entertaining and it leaves the audience in a stunned silence. I can't wait to see it again!