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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)

Stephen Sondheim’s great musical seemed ideal material for film that it seems astonishing that it took nearly 28 years for it to reach the screen. Perhaps it’s just as well as the material is not easy and needed just the right director to nurse it along and Tim Burton understands the material perfectly and has created a stunning adaptation of the Sondheim musical. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski has bleached all the colors so the film looks near black and white (except for the flashback sequences which are bright) and Dante Ferretti has created an exquisite stylized Victorian London (and justifiably winning an Oscar for it). Johnny Depp gives one of his very best performances as Sweeney, the demented barber who returns to London to avenge the man (Alan Rickman) who took his wife and daughter from him. Helena Bonham Carter is simply perfect as his murderous accomplice. Bonham Carter plays the role as more of a calculating wench with common sense and a darker sense of purpose than the kewpie doll that Angela Lansbury played in the original Broadway production. And the casting of a child (Ed Sanders who’s sensational) instead of a young man as Toby is inspired. Also starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Timothy Spall, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener and Laura Michelle Kelly. The gorgeous orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick are faithful to the original score and Paul Gemignani does a superlative job of adapting and conducting the music.

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