Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sweeney Todd on the Big Screen, Tim Burton's Masterpiece

Tim Burton has finally created his masterpiece. The new film, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is one of the most provocative and artistic musicals ever made. You’ll barely realize that you’re watching a musical even though the actors are singing for practically the entire film. The entire cast is superb due precisely to the fact that none of them are primarily singers. They are all accomplished actors who have been able to deftly perform the musical numbers with subtlety and poignancy.

The film has the best opening credits I have ever seen. As the stars names cross the screen you follow a trail of blood through the sewers of London while a haunting orchestration of The Ballad of Sweeney Todd plays in the background. It’s mesmerizing.

The entire movie has a dark feel with some sort of blue filter on the lens that adds a kind of coldness. Johnny Depp is just magnificent. His Sweeney is troubled, loving, evil, hurt and compassionate all at the same time. Depp, one of the best screen actors of our time, deserves an Oscar for this performance.

Five Top Sweeney Todd Moments

5. Sweeney’s doing in of Judge Turpin. Damn that was nasty! But the Judge had it coming. All of Sweeney’s other murders were relatively painless – a simple slicing of the juggler. But he decided to give the Judge (played superbly by Alan Rickman) the daily special.

4. Sacha Baron Cohen’s sock. Here’s what I guess must have happened. During the shooting, Mr. Cohen’s irrepressible comic side took over and he stuffed the aforementioned sock in his pants giving his character, Signor Adolfo Pirelli, a quite tumescent package. Burton saw this, decided it was hilarious and used it to film the most hilarious two shot ever recorded in the history of film.

3. The musical score. It was simply wonderful. Listen to it. I’m not talking about the vocals, only the score.

2. The final scene. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s awful and touching all at once.

1. Johnny Depp. His acting is flawless, he can sing despite the doubts of many, and he embodies the character completely. Let’s be happy that Russell Crowe didn’t get the part.

Go see this movie on the Big Screen. Don’t wait for the DVD.

My Prediction: Oscar for Best Picture, Oscar to Johnny Depp for Best Actor.

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