IMDB rating: 7.5
My rating: 8
Much has been said over the years about the Burton-Depp-Bonham Carter trio that it feels almost redundant making any mention of it again… But the magic that they create together cannot be understated and, to me, it reaches a climax with this dark musical.
The character Sweeney Todd first appeared in a penny dreadful circa 1846. The equally intriguing character of Mrs Lovett also originates from the same penny dreadful. According to Wikipedia “[T]he tale became a staple of Victorian melodrama”. This Burton adaption is, of course, a musical.
Not only does one get to see Johnny Depp play another of his caricatures (and this time round the grotesquely bloodthirsty Sweeney Todd does not disappoint), he is supported (and in some ways overshadowed) by the talented Helena Bonham Carter. Watching this film in 2014, one realizes that Sacha Baron Cohen plays his role just as brilliantly, and that this film is most likely the reason he and Helena was cast as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables.
Although the setting and the feel of the film is distinctly Burtonesque, to me, the Gothic Victorian world that Burton creates for these characters is truly seminal in his oeuvre; as far as his non-animated films go. Somewhat reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow this film adds a decadence to the highlighted dark Victorian that adds another dimension to the film altogether.
I always get a lot of criticism when I mention this at dinner parties, but although Johnny Depp is extremely talented in playing caricatures, I prefer him playing more ‘realistic’ characters (I believe that his best role is Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow) as I believe that requires more talent. But this is most definitely the only way in which I criticize the film, and it is not even true criticism, only a personal opinion.
Want to read more on Sweeney Todd? Try these…