Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ★★★★★

The combination of material and director that results in 2007's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is nothing short of outstanding. Tim Burton takes Stephen Sondheim's comic-gothic musical and creates a blood-soaked, sumptuously designed and photographed, gothic masterwork. It is a horror musical with a comic lilt that keeps the violence and jet-sprays of claret from being oppressive.

The cast, led by a seething Johnny Depp, is ideal. While the entire troupe may not have the greatest of all voices, all the players sing at least servicably, and Depp communicates the rage and regret of his anti-hero with each sung turn-of-phrase. Each of Burton's actors look as like they stepped out of a twisted, Dickensian sketchbook.

Narratively, "Sweeney Todd..." is not much more than a tragic revenge story. Visually, the film is impossible not to stare at as the shadows and near black and white aesthetics invite you into them. Led by Burton's eye, Depp's performance, and Sondheim's music, this is a remarkable film.

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