“Sweeney Todd” is a revenge story draped around sorrow many times over. Once you face the fact that Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and the entire cast, minus Timothy Spall, have magnanimous voices, which isn’t hard – it’s spellbinding.
Most film directors open stage productions by adding meaningless busyness to make them more cinematic. Burton constricts the space and concentrates on the melodrama at hand that lies within the soul of the story. The minor-key chamber music reminds me much of a Catholic Chapel organ tune that carries throughout the film. This element adds to the growing suspense and climax of the film. Burton uses gouts of bright ruby blood that geyser out against the monochromatic backdrops.
This is definitely not a film for weak of stomach or young of age. The MPAA rated well as the movie contains explicit throat slashing scenes that would indeed make Jack the Ripper envious. Now Depp has another aurora about him in light of the fact he can sing very well. Burton shoots him close-up in a loving way; and mad Johnny has the right intensity; the right morbidity about his characters that causes the other characters to fall in line.
Ms Lovett, for example, has the frugal idea of grinding up Sweeney’s victims for her minced meat pies. Bonham Carter brings both a ghoulish and erotic tone to the film. If there were a Playghoul magazine, you’d want Burton atop the centerfolds, after all, he has spawned “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Batman,” and many others.
Like Ms Lovett’s minced meat pies, Sweeney isn’t for every viewer’s appetite. Sondheim, the original creator and arguably the greatest theatrical composer and lyricist could’ve never been more proud of the big-screen adaption being so deliciously served! The film is simply one you will love or hate. Hit or miss with everyone I’ve come into contact with.