"Johnny Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages"–The Hollywood Reporter gives SWEENEY TODD a rave review

“Bottom line: Bloody good,” declares Kirk Honeycutt of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER in his review of Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. Regarding Johnny Depp’s performance in the leading role, Honeycutt says, “Johnny Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages,” and as for Tim Burton’s direction, “the show couldn’t have fallen into better hands.” Adapting a classic Broadway musical for the screen, particularly one with such tragic, non-traditional subject matter, is both artistically and commercially risky–as Honeycutt writes, “It’s 19th century London and everyone is singing, but when arterial blood sprays from the opened throat of Signor Adolfo Pirelli, you know this is no MY FAIR LADY.” Instead, Honeycutt compares the film to Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW, “where heads rolled like so many bowling balls,” adding that SWEENEY TODD “places its emphasis on Grand Guignol and the deeply human story of twice-lost love and the horrifying destructiveness of revenge.”

“In choosing actors who can carry a tune as opposed to singing-actors, Burton has wisely gone for the tragic, emotional heart of the story,” says Honeycutt. “Depp is the movie’s heart and guts. His Sweeney, nee Benjamin Barker–having escaped false imprisonment in Australia after 15 years–is ruled by revenge upon his return to London. [. . . .] Depp plays Sweeney as a man so focused on death, so committed to blood, that he has lost all touch with life. [Helena Bonham] Carter’s amoral Nellie Lovett, her hair apparently combed with an egg beater, is herself obsessed with Sweeney. She imagines an impossible life with him without realizing he is unmoored from any reality in which this might take place.”

As for all that blood we’ve heard so much about, Honeycutt finds it an appropriate artistic choice: “Burton pushes this gore into his audiences’ faces so as to feel the madness and the destructive fury of Sweeney’s obsession. Teaming with Depp, his long-time alter ego, Burton makes Sweeney a smoldering dark pit of fury and hate that consumes itself. With his sturdy acting and surprisingly good voice, Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages.”

Many thanks to Ventoux for posting the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER review on the Zone–you can find it on the News & Views forum in the thread, “Reactions to ST Screenings.” You can also read the Hollywood Reporter review here: http://tinyurl.com/32ru3k –Part-Time Poet

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