Film Flashback: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street (2007)
[2012 Flash Forward: Before "Iron Man" gave Robert Downey Jr. the perfect platform to show his talents, Johnny Depp found the ideal role to showcase what makes him the most daring, risk-taking actor in Hollywood with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise as Capt. Jack Sparrow. Not content with his newfound superstardom, Depp chose increasingly more challenging, varied roles so as not to get typecast as that nutty pirate guy. Here's a look at one of his more fascinating roles with his longtime directing buddy Tim Burton and my original review of it.]
I am now convinced after seeing the wickedly delightful ‘‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Baker on Fleet Street” that there is no role too great for Johnny Depp. [2012 Flash Forward: Haven't seen one yet. From Willy Wonka, J.M. Barrie, The Mad Hatter, John Dillinger, etc. The movies may not all be great, but Depp puts his all into making each role a unique character.]
He made pirates cool in ‘‘Pirates of the Caribbean;” played a creepy Michael Jackson-esque Willie Wonka in ‘‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory;” and now the man proves to be quite the adept singer in a big screen adaptation of a Broadway musical. [2012 Flash Forward: Seriously, what were the odds that Depp could sing too? But if Kim Kardashian can have an album, why can't J-Depp?]
Depp is Sweeney Todd, who returns to London in search of revenge after his wife and daughter were kidnapped by the heinous Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman, ‘‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”) [2012 Flash Forward: Rickman always has to play the heel, even in romantic comedies, but it's simply because he's so good at making you hate his characters.]
Taken in by the eccentric meat pie baker, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter, ‘‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”), Todd plots to enjoy his long sought payback and kill Turpin.
He takes a decidedly less than therapeutic method for dealing with his aggression: slashing the throats of patrons of his barber parlor.
Mrs. Lovett finds her own uses for Todd’s new hobby and the two began a macabre romance when he isn’t obsessing over Turpin. Carter is amazing [2012 Flash Forward: Depp has to brood for most of the movie so Carter gets a juicier role as she gets to be far more expressive and she can really sing too] and she more than holds her own opposite Depp – not getting lost in the force of his performance but keeping the audience just as entertained and enthralled with Lovett.
The sinister pair even become a twisted family as they take in the young orphan Tobias (Ed Sanders who makes a great feature film debut). [2012 Flash Forward: So impressive in his debut that he didn't have another role in 2011's "Hugo," but he worked with Martin Scorsese so that should make up for any four-year droughts.]
‘‘Sweeney Todd” reunites Depp and his frequent collaborator Tim Burton. [2012 Flash Forward: Dream re-casting here. Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's Batman movies. How much fun would it have been watching Depp and Jack Nicholson square off?]
Burton has one of the great imaginative minds in the business. While he likely would have excelled in a number of creative art fields, moviegoers would have been cheated of the larger than life sets and unique vision he brings to all of his films, and ‘‘Sweeney Todd” is no different. Whether it’s a dank, dark alley or a vibrant oceanfront, your eyes are in for a visual feast. [2012 Flash Forward: Burton is the kind of filmmaker that 3D is made for.]
The score is fantastic, which makes sense considering the film’s Broadway origin. At times, however, the music is a little too bombastic and drowns out the actors during their musical numbers. [2012 Flash Forward:
You’ll need a strong stomach as the movie takes its sinister turn. Todd begins offing his customers and the blood squirts like it’s the third installment of ‘‘Kill Bill” making for a pretty gruesome second act.
‘‘Sweeney Todd” is a truly unique experience and while sickly twisted, is one of the best films of the year for its scope, performances and inspired direction.
[2012 Flash Forward: Musicals don't tend to fare too well at the box office. It's $152 million worldwide gross off a $50 million budget netted a decent profit, but it's hardly a blockbuster. Still, this was a fun departure for the norm for Depp, who once again proved a willingness to do just about anything for the sake of a challenging role and entertaining audiences.]
2012 Flash Forward rating: 7 out of 10