The movie “Sweeney Todd” is based on a Broadway musical about the demon barber of Fleet Street.
Benjamin Barker, played by Johnny Depp, was a fantastic barber in London married to a beautiful girl until Judge Turpin, played by Alan Rickman, decided he wanted Barker’s wife as his own.
The judge banished Barker, adopting his child in the process. Barker, now going by Sweeney Todd, returns many years later bent on revenge, he teams up with Mrs. Lovett, a landlady played by Helena Bonham Carter who makes the worst pies in London.
In order to get the judge to come to his new barber shop Todd enters a shaving contest with an Italian, played by Sacha Baron Cohen. This backfires when Pirelli, the Italian, recognizes Todd and decides to blackmail him. With no other options, Todd slits his throat.
Todd’s bitterness has turned into a profound hatred for humans in general, and many of his customers are killed with his razor. With nowhere convenient to hide the bodies, and with the price of meat so high, Mrs. Lovett starts putting the bodies into her pies, which causes her sales to skyrocket. As her sales go up, so does Todd’s insanity.
During all this there is a fight for Todd’s daughter, who is still under Turpin’s care. The judge has now decided to marry her and she tries to escape, only to be sent to an insane asylum.
Tim Burton is known for his dark and creepy movies, and this one is no exception. Even though it is a very gloomy and sobering tale it still has the feel of a great classic musical. For example, the song “Have a Little Priest” is about cannibalism, but it is still a fantastic happy song. It’s a little odd to hear Johnny Depp sing at first, but he does such a great job at it you start to wonder why he’s not in more musicals. Although he is still a barber, he really makes a simple razor look very menacing. I thought the choice of Sacha Baron Cohen was an interesting one, but he did a very good job also.
“Sweeney Todd” is pretty gory, with a lot of blood squirting everywhere. But whether you’re a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp fan or you just love musicals, this is one movie that should not be overlooked.