Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I found this considerably darker and gallons more disturbing than I expected, even though I had been warned by Mr. A.O. Scott's review in the Times. Most of the throat slitting occurred with me holding the collar of my sweater to my face and whimpering with distress; the last third of the movie had me sitting terrifed and anxious. Johnny Depp is as far from Jack Sparrow in this movie as one can be. While one was all frolic and fun, this other one is all black insane rage. Helena Bonham Carter looks pretty much the way she usually does on a normal day (actually, so did Johnny Depp aside from some additional shadowing around his eyes and a white streak in his hair), but her practical Mrs. Lovett brought necessary bits of lightness even as she shares in the madness. I'd never heard any of these songs before today but I found myself humming "Johaaaaaanaaaa, I'll steeeeeeeal you, Johaaaaaaaanaaa" on my way to lab afterwards, even as I was clutching my scarf protectively around my throat. I never thought musicals could be this gruesomely brilliant, but I am happy (and worried) to find myself wrong. Rate *****

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