Movie review: Sweeney Todd
I was really, REALLY looking forward to seeing this. Aside from the fact that I like Tim Burton, adore Johnny Depp and worship Alan Rickman, I love the idea of a sort of horror flick coming out at Christmas.
Imagine my utter disappointment in the Dickinson (my town’s one and only multiplex) for not bringing it to my town. It’s like the Carmike all over again with a theatre chain dictating what an entire city wants and doesn’t want. Man, it really ticks me off and makes me not want to see movies at the Dickinson, ever. Thank goodness there is The Grand downtown and while I know Sweeney will probably never play there either since it’s geared towards family fare, I absolutely love what the fine volunteers are bringing in there. Kudos to them, big bad BOO to the Dickinson.
So I drove to Lincoln to see it (an hour and a half away – and I was in Lincoln for xmas anyway but I wasn’t gonna leave without seeing ST.) Worth it? Totally. Now, you have to enjoy musicals to like this film because if you’re the type of person who can’t work out why people burst into song and seem to automatically know all the dance steps then Sweeney probably isn’t for you. You’ll spend the whole movie being irritated.
But if you can get past that and listen to the lyrics (and there’s not much in the way of dancing in Sweeney so you’re safe there) and watch the whole gory story unfold, then you’ll probably dig on Sweeney.
For the record, I didn’t know much about the Broadway musical at all. Had no idea it was such a dark and bloody story because man, if I had, I would totally have read up on it. It’s tragically awesome.
The story is this (Spoilers ahead and if you live in my town and don’t know the story, you’ll probably want to skip the rest of this until you can get yourself to Lincoln to see it): A pervy, wicked judge imprisons talented barber, Benjamin Barker on false charges, tearing him away from his beautiful wife and baby daughter. While Benji’s sent away, the judge makes a move on his wife which leads to her poisoning herself. The judge takes in the baby as his ward and raises her as his own.
Benji escapes and returns to London with a new name: Sweeney Todd. And Sweeney’s got vengeance on the brain. He meets Mrs. Lovett in her awful pie shop and sets up his own barber shop upstairs (which happens to be the small apartment he once lived in with his beautiful wife.)
Sweeney’s ultimate goal is to get the judge in for a shave where he will then slash his throat and have his revenge. But the plans get bollixed up as plans do, and a young sailor falls in love with the now teenage daughter of Sweeney who is virtually imprisoned within the judge’s home while he spies on her. I don’t like pervy Alan Rickman, but I will say he’s quite good as an icky sleazeball.
So Sweeney begins slashing throats of those he deems evil and who will not be missed and Mrs. Lovett turns them into meat pies she then serves to the public. The blood flows and spurts and gushes in great gurgly noises as he slashes and bashes these baddies up and the public just LOVES Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies. It’s cannibaltastic.
The plan gets messed up when the judge finally turns up in Sweeney’s shop and just as Todd is about to have his revenge, the lovesick sailor bursts in begging Todd to help him rescue the girl from the judge.
Oh there’s more, and it’s really quite gory and the music is fantastically dark and wonderful. But you should see it for yourself. I got a bit sniffly at the end. You see, you never quite hate Sweeney despite all the nasty, horrible, evil things he does. I admire any story that can make me sympathetic towards such a creature.
Wow this got long. Anyway, I’d say see the movie, even if you have to wait for the DVD. It’s excellent.