Coming into this film, my thinking was that their would only be a few songs here and there throughout the entire hour and 57 minutes of this film. The thought was wrong as the entire film is one long musical composition only giving way for a few breaks for story plots. I am usually not a fan of musicals, although I did enjoy Hairspray, and this film was no exception. If you are a fan of musicals, then you will love Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
The film begins with Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) being unjustly imprisoned by a treacherous judge (Alan Rickman). Barker returns to London from his punishment of transportation as the barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd seeking revenge on the judge and the entire hierarchical society. A barber turned early 1990s postal worker, Todd slits the throats of his customers and proceeds to send them below where Todd’s partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) turns the bodies into delicious yet malicious mince meat pies. As the crimson paint flows as blood and the Cruella DeVil-like gray strip becomes well-defined, Todd becomes crazed with power and revenge with his blade in hand bringing back visions from his role in Edward Scissorhands, which is directed by Tim Burton.
Tim Burton returns to his much darker side like in such films as Batman, Batman Returns, and Edward Scissorhands, where the film is shot in grays and blacks so that scarlet blood is the only real color in the film and blood-red begins to figure into the mix with characters once they have the proverbial “blood on their hands”. Tim Burton is looking for his first Best Director nomination from the Academy and should be granted that honor with this film. Johnny Depp gives an awe-inspiring performance as the demon barber by putting his entire career on the line and unleashing himself in every possible aspect of his acting repertoire. He transforms himself into this dark, tortured, complicated, evil angel that you know you should dislike but you can’t. The only negative aspect of this film is the performance of Helena Bonham Carter. Her performance is so pessimistic and irritating that I found her to be annoying, and was glad when Todd threw her character into the furnace. The film is appreciative to have a great supporting cast in Sasha Baron Cohen and Alan Rickman. I had never expected to see so much blood in this type of film. Think Tarantino blood. This film should have been called There Will Be Blood, instead of the film starring Daniel Day-Lewis with the same name. Be prepared to become a little squeamish and leave the little ones at home.