Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sweeney Todd (2007)

I finally got around to watching Tim Burton's adaptation on the musical Sweeney Todd.

First of all, I think Burton's style and Sweeney Todd is a beautiful match. Truly an improvement over the somewhat clownish appearances often found in stage performance. (Granted, such appearances are required for stage so I'm not knocking that.)

But can the pretty boy play the role? Well, in my opinion …no. True, he has the sinister, sullen look of a man Hell-bent on revenge. But he lacked something I feel really makes the character at certain points in the story – RAGE. I don't mean spitting out venomous words like "they all deserve to die" in a soft and polite growl. I mean the eyes wide, nostrils flaring, foaming at the mouth, I'm-going-mad-and-deciding-that-everyone-deserves-to have-their-throat-cut rage. Depp just doesn't have that in him.

Of course, it didn't help that the sound was seriously flawed. I think after the aforementioned scene, the first one to sit in the barber chair should have been the Sound Mixer.

Asides from the missing part of Sweeney's personality, I did enjoy the update for what it was. I still have another disc to go through with all the special features including a hats off to the Grand Guignol. I do love Burton's style and how he manages to make even very ugly characters and locations look strangely beautiful.

One of the most frequently-uttered complaints that I've heard from people who have already seen this film is that it was too bloody. Tisk Tisk… the plot is about a vengeful barber who slits people's throats and his downstairs neighbor uses the corpses for making meat pies – what exactly were people expecting? Personally, I thought the last moments of the film were just artistically beautiful. Just the kind of sculpture I'd want in a garden fountain.

But yes, it is bloodier than we are used to seeing from Mr. Burton. In fact, I think I saw more blood in the opening credits than I've seen in all his other films combined.

Film information: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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