Jan 7, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the best Tim Burton film to come out in over a decade. The film takes chances (which I though Tim Burton gave up on) and succeeds. I have always hated musicals. I doubt that there are five that I can even stomach. After viewing the Sound of Music in elementary school I was sick and disturbed for the rest of the day. Sweeney Todd isn’t your typical musical. It has a beautifully woven combination of plot, sound, and picture. I recall a teacher I once had comparing the format of a musical to a porno. I would have to agree with that assertion. Sweeney Todd, on the other hand, is an exception to that rule.

Watching a throat slitting musical can be quite entertaining and especially hilarious. I am sure this was Tim Burton’s intent. Releasing the film just in time for Christmas was another bold move by the Hollywood auteur. After watching David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises (which is somewhat of a masterpiece), I have been really getting into throat slitting barbershops visits. Throat slitting was the first thing I thought of as a child when I saw an elderly barber give a middle aged man a razor blade shave.

Johnny Depp’s performance was excellent as Sweeney Todd. In the past couple years Depp has been taking on many cartoonish characters (I assume because he has children now). Although I hate many of these recent performances, with Sweeney Todd I have no complaints. Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall also give interesting performances. Mr. Burton loves directing character (odd ones) driven films so you can guarantee an appropriately casted film.

Sweeney Todd also echoes back to Edward Scissorhands (another Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration). Eddie Scissorhands was a gentle, passive, and childishly romantic. Sweeney Todd on the other hand is bloodthirsty, fed up, and revenge driven. Both characters made great barbers. I doubt Johnny Deep would make a good barber as reflected by his hairstyles in recent years. Tim Burton seems to have the same problem.

Tim Burton has always had the ability to make the sick hilarious. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, and Ed Wood are proof of this. Sweeney Todd takes it to a different level with blood gushing throats. But it doesn’t end at the death of the individual. They also take a dive head first via trapdoor (hidden behind the barber stool) into a basement. There the bodies are grinded and cooked for meat potpie. Most people will watch Sweeney Todd and not realize the sick perversity of the film (and maybe the director?). Tim Burton has always had the ability to do that.

I know have faith that Tim Burton is still capable of producing good films. With a Frankenweenie stop-motion remake scheduled for the future, Burton still hasn’t given up on creating. Not bad for someone that I expect to have great deal of money. His licensed items at Hot Topic alone must bring him in million upon million of dollars every year. In twenty years from now, I hope Paul Ruebens and Tim Burton get together for one more collaboration.

-Ty E


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to check this one out for myself. Supposed to go sometime this week. I'm forcing myself to not write a year end top ten list until I've seen it. Ha.

otis rampaging heterosexuality said...

Sasha Baron Cohen is a worthless pile of dog-shit because he is a fag-enabler.