Top positive review
Excellent, but watch on Blu-Ray
on 6 September 2015
Inexplicably, the normal opening number "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" is excised from the movie, which I think is a great loss (although you can hear the theme intermittently used as incidental music). Instead the movie opens with "There's no place like London". Apart from this small point, this is a rather nice movie interpretation of the stage musical.
It's presented in muted colours, and nearly always in dark and brooding lighting (I think except for the beach and picnic scene in Mrs Lovett's imagination). It looks fine on Blu-Ray, but digitally streamed, it's not so good. The darkness and bleakness of Fleet Street chimes well with Sondheim's complex and off-kilter melodies. Johnny Depp is by no means a singer, but he pulls it off, and I think the duets with Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) and Mrs Lovett (Helen Bonham Carter) are probably the best performances in the movie. Bonham-Carter also puts in a good performance, but somewhat puts you in mind of other characters she's played in movies like the Harry Potter series, and Les Miserables. Rickman is excellently villainous as Judge Turpin, and reveals a sonorous singing voice. The versatile Timothy Spall is also there as Turpin's bruiser, and Sacha Baron Cohen appears briefly to sing a comic song before unwisely becoming Sweeney's enemy.
A warning for the squeamish: the murders are bloody, and this movie earns its 18 certificate. It's not for children, or for those that feel queasy at the sight of blood.
Very enjoyable, and certainly bears repeat viewings.