The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a. Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
In the Victorian London, the barber Benjamin Barker is married to the gorgeous Lucy and they have a lovely child, Johanna. The beauty of Lucy attracts the attention of the corrupt Judge Turpin, who falsely accuses the barber of a crime that he did not commit and abuses Lucy later after gaining custody of her. After fifteen years in exile, Benjamin returns to London under the new identity of Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge against Turpin. He meets the widow Mrs. Lovett who is the owner of a meat pie shop who tells him that Lucy swallowed arsenic many years ago, and Turpin assigned himself tutor of Johanna. He opens a barber shop above her store, initiating a crime rampage against those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Composer Stephen Sondheim, notoriously protective of his stage works, long resisted offers to film this story. When Tim Burton expressed interest, however, Sondheim relented when pleased with Burton's vision for the project, and on the condition that the composer would maintain casting approval. Burton would only agree to direct, with Johnny Depp in the lead, and though Sondheim feared Depp's vocals would be too "rock oriented," the composer approved the actor after a vocal audition. To approve the casting of Helena Bonham Carter, and to combat any rumor of nepotism (as Carter and Burton were romantically involved), the actress sent Sondheim no less than twelve audition tapes of her singing. Very impressed with her vocals, Sondheim immediately approved the actress. Also, in his recent book about his career as a songwriter, "Finishing the Hat," Sondheim states this is the only adaptation of one of his works for the screen, for which he approves. See more »
At Mrs. Lovetts grand re-opening, a man is shown walking half way up the stairs to Sweeney Todd's parlor and, after a 10 or so second sequence, he is shown again on the same step. See more »
I have sailed the world, beheld its wonders, from the Dardanelles to the mountains of Peru. But there's no place like London.
No, there's no place like London.
You are young. Life has been kind to you. You will learn.
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Despite the grim expectations from the story synopsis, the film delivers gore in a surprisingly tasteful way. There are no screaming teenagers running from a lunatic; instead we get a somewhat British blend of satire, slapstick and just "wrong" humor. Although I'm not much of a Johnny Depp fan, I enjoyed his performance as well as Helena Bonham Carter's. Even the portrayal of the common clients was stunning.
Despite being generally familiar with the story, I fell into some traps expecting specific twists, yet something different (and better) being delivered. This is a model of how to do dark humor that filmmakers should and probably will follow. It is most refreshing. Don't read the story and don't read any spoilers until you've seen it.
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