Sweeney Todd (2007)

Directed  by Tim Burton
Written by John Logan, Hugh Wheeler, Christopher Bond.

Johnny Depp, Helana Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener, Ed Sanders, Laura Michelle Kelly.

Dark Gothic horror musical from director Burton – with his take on the telling of Sweeney Todd – formerly Benjamin Barker, a barber in mid 1800’s London. Barker was sent to prison, wrongfully by the ruthless Judge Turpin (Rickman) – who is jealous of Barker’s wife and daughter. Fifteen years later, now physically changed, he returns to London out for revenge.

Dark and twisted tale on the Victorian Penny Dreadfuls, and later the Broadway play by Stephen Sondheim – mixes dark horror violence with the music of the play. The gothic horror is directed brilliantly, and is one of the only modern film-makers who would be able to bring this tale to light. That being said, I would be interested to see Guillermo del Toro adapt it.

Typical Burton type film, as he often does is dark and moody. I felt this was one of his poorer directorial efforts with his reliance on practical effects less this time, and he leans more on computer imagery in some scenes. They have aged somewhat poorly in the sixteen years since this film was made.

Regular players for Burton Depp and Carter are… fine – they give neither poor performances nor brilliant performances (Depp was however nominated for an Oscar for his performance). There are some less than stellar singing performances within.

The big up is the score by the late great Stephen Sondheim – who was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his work here.

Not being familiar with the original story, the film feels like it ends quite abruptly with no real lead up to it, and this was a slight negative.

All in all, not a bad film by any means – but everyone who was involved has done better work.



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