By Jose Dizon, 15, La Cañada HS
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What better way to spend part of your weekend than with a unique movie, filled with gallons of blood and scenes full of song. Enter director Tim Burton’s adaptation of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Even before Sweeney Todd was released, television shows and magazines were calling it another twisted masterpiece from Burton (who also made Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands). Nothing exemplifies this as much as Johnny Depp’s and Helena Bonham Carter’s performance of the song “A Little Priest,” in which they ponder a merging of murder and cannibalism into a moneymaking venture. If this isn’t enough to shock the audience, perhaps the gallons of blood spilled throughout the story will.
Depp plays Sweeney Todd, a barber who was exiled from his home in England by an influential judge, played by Alan Rickman, who was obsessed with Todd’s wife. Once Todd returns to England after living in a foreign land for 15 years, he discovers that his wife has died and his daughter, who the judge adopted, is locked in her room with only one window. Frustrated with how the bad guys always get away with everything, he now believes that people do not deserve to live. Todd, who’s a barber, decides to kill whoever walks through his front door for a haircut.
The high points of the movie were the songs. They carried the emotions in every scene. For people who aren’t known for their singing, the actors shine with each song, especially Depp, who uses his deep voice to project the anger and frustration that lay deep in the heart of Sweeney Todd. As a big fan of musicals, I would recommend this movie to musical lovers and anyone who just wants to sit down and watch a great movie.
Burton isn’t shy about showing gore and blood either. He splatters blood around so that each slit throat becomes a thing of beauty. These visuals sparked that inner child in me who wanted to see blood and gore, even with the circumstances under which people were killed. Once the movie had ended, my mouth was left open wide. Honestly, I’d prefer never to get a haircut ever again.
The cast turns in great performances with Depp and Carter nabbing a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a musical or comedy and nomination for Best Actress, for their respective performances as the vengeful Sweeney Todd and his cunning accomplice Mrs. Lovett. The supporting cast is solid as well, led by accomplished English actor Alan Rickman as Todd’s nemesis Judge Turpin. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, better known as Borat/Ali G, plays a surprisingly large dramatic role, as Todd’s rival.
Sweeney Todd is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. If it’s a compelling story you want, with the creativity in the overall gothic look and feel, the originality in each eerie execution, and its unique anti-hero, then Sweeney Todd is the movie you should see the next time you’re at the theaters.