Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Release Year: 2007
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: John Logan (screenplay), Christopher Bond (musical adaptation), Hugh Wheeler (musical)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bowen, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jayne Wisener, Edward Sanders
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Art Direction. Nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Actor (Johnny Depp), Best Costume Design. Won 2 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Actor – Comedy or Musical (Johnny Depp). Nominated for 2 Golden Globes: Best Actress – Comedy or Musical (Helena Bonham Carter), Best Director. Won 2 Saturn Awards: Best Horror Film, Best Costume. Nominated for 6 Saturn Awards: Best Actor (Johnny Depp), Best Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Bet Supporting Actor (Alan Rickman), Best Director, Best Writing, Best Make-Up.
The story of the infamous barber Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) who sets up shop in London and enters into a sinister partnership with his landlady Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) until he can have his revenge on the man who ruined his life.
This musical is a far cry from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which came out only two years before. Instead of a colourful and chocolate-filled playground, we get a dark and brooding London, a twisted tale of revenge, desire, and lost love. In many ways, Sweeney Todd is the most dramatically rich and satuated of Burton’s films. With the exception of one song, there is no room here for any humour except the most dark variety. Depp (Ed Wood, 1994) gives one of his strongest performances for Burton and both he and Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland, 2010) deliver more than one could expect on the vocal front. With a strong supporting cast headed by a great Rickman (The Butler, 2013) the runs along as a smooth descent into Hell. The violence is bloody and effective making it a strong horror film as well as a proper musical. It is one of Tim Burton’s strongest film but also one of his least pleasant to watch. Highly recommended if you have the stomach for it.
For his audition, Sacha Baron Cohen sang the entire score of Fiddler on the Roof (1971) for director Tim Burton.
Anthony Stewart Head, who is well known to fans of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and has himself made career in stage musicals, appears as the man who greets Sweeney Todd in the street after the barber competition.