Monday, December 24, 2007

Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street [R]
Grade: B

Sweeney Todd is a muscial awash in the usual things you expect in a singalong - blood, revenge, and cannibalism. Which is to say that it's the Stephen Sondheim musical version of Carrie, Point Blank, and Soylent Green. Johnny Depp plays the Demon Barber of Fleet Street as a taciturn, gray-streaked psychopath out to settle a grievance with a razor in his hand and a song in his little deranged heart. The real star isn't Depp, but Tim Burton's coal-eyed London, an outpost of dark, cobblestone grimness and no justice beyond what you can slice out on your own. Burton has been slipping for years, but his macabre sensibility and twisted humor settle in nicely. There isn't a standout musical number, but the film doesn't really need it. The point of the tunes are humor and storytelling. Each of which it has plenty of. In between the throat-slashings, of course.

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