Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sweeney Review

As I blogged about last week, Ryan and I were going to go see Sweeney Todd, and we did. I have to warn you, I do enjoy violence on film (I know, I preach love, but for some reason I just am drawn to the violent, vulgar films such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, etc). This movie was no different. Johnny Depp plays a barber who is killing his clients, trying to get to the unjust judge that has stolen his daughter and imprisoned him for 15 years. It is a musical, which I love (Rent is probably my favorite musical), but if you don't like musicals I still think you may enjoy this movie. Depp doesn't try to be this fantastic singer, and I think the 'rawness' of his voice adds to the tone of the film. I give the film 2 thumbs up (especially because I love Tim Burton and his work). If you are going to see the film I would not click on the review linked, or at least not read it in its entirety (what I have posted is fine, it is just the review), but the article does go over most of the plot, which you may not want to read prior to heading out to the theater.

I found this review through Rolling Stone and thought I would pass it along (it is probably a little more articulate than what I could conger up):

For the holidays, Tim Burton serves up the sugarplum tale of serial-killing barber Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), who slits the throats of his customers and then, with the help of bake-shop owner Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), grinds up the corpses and serves them as meat pies to a salivating if unsuspecting public. What more do you want in a musical? So get prepped, gore addicts — Sweeney Todd, subtitled The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and set in nineteenth-century London, is ninety percent sung. And doing the lion's share of the warbling is Depp, who has never sung a note onscreen and still has the sand to take on a landmark musical by legend Stephen Sondheim that leaves trained opera stars feeling daunted. A recipe for disaster? You'd think. Instead, Sweeney Todd is a thriller-diller from start to finish: scary, monstrously funny and melodically thrilling. And Depp is simply stupendous. He's not Pavarotti and doesn't try to be, but his light baritone has clarity, timbre and emotive power. Depp erases the line between singing and acting, fusing them into something that keeps the movie blazing. Oscar, take note. This Sweeney is a bloody wonder, intimate and epic, horrific and heart-rending as it flies on the wings of Sondheim's most thunderously exciting score. Burton is a true visionary, and with the help of cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, costume whiz Colleen Atwood and production designer Dante Ferretti he sets a new gold standard for bringing a stage musical to the screen. Burton knows that Sweeney Todd has been sacrosanct in theater circles since its Broadway debut in 1979, starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. He knows that what Sondheim composes is considered holy writ.

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