Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman
Written by: Stephen Sondheim, John Logan, Hugh Wheeler, Christopher Bond
Directed by: Tim Burton
How good is this movie?
It’s Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and, yes, it’s just as awesome as it sounds! Depp and Bonham Carter both take their respective roles and make them their own, to brilliantly ghoulish effect. Burton skillfully streamlines the story, cutting out the extraneous bits and adding his own aesthetic style. A few of the cuts are regrettable (I missed the long version of “A Little Priest”), but they’re more than made up for by the additions (the Burtonised “By the Sea” sequence is hilarious!).
How ace is this movie?
There’s a romantic sub-plot between Anthony and Johanna, but it’s trimmed down from the stage version and doesn’t form a big part of the story. Mrs Lovett also expresses romantic interest in Sweeney Todd, but he clearly doesn’t return it. In fact, he comes off as pretty much asexual throughout the film – though I wouldn’t exactly call this portrayal “positive”. He had a wife and child in the past, but, having lost them, he is consumed by thoughts of revenge and seems to have no time for anything else. In one scene, Mrs Lovett sings a love song to him, but he ignores her, instead singing a love song to his knives. He is clearly uncomfortable with the picture of domestic bliss she paints in “By the Sea”, and only snogs her with the utmost reluctance. He does sing the “Pretty Women” duet with Judge Turpin, but that seems to be for the Judge’s benefit rather than his own. For Todd, killing is the only thing that brings any joy; everything else – sex included – pales in comparison.
How ace is Alan Rickman?
Character: Judge Turpin (judge)
Umm… He kidnaps a woman, rapes her, and then, after her suicide, makes plans to marry and rape her daughter. So… not very! To be fair, the movie leaves out his lust-tormented self-flagellation scene (Any Alan Rickman fans disappointed? Didn’t think so.), but we still see him spying on Johanna, he makes innuendos at Anthony, and he participates enthusiastically in the “Pretty Women” song. Did I mention the rape?
What if he is?
Well… they do say that rape is more about power than sex. So, I suppose the Judge could be an asexual man who rapes women in order to assert power over them. If anything, that would make him even more despicable!
3.5 Stars; 3 Aces