A barber is wrongfully imprisoned for decades, where he goes insane
and returns to London to have his revenge on the judge responsible.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by John Logan
Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bower,
Laura Michelle Kelly, Jayne Wisener, Ed Sanders
Based on the stage musical by Stephen Sondheim
Oscar Wins - Best Art Direction
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Johnny Depp),
Best Costume Design
Nobody but Tim Burton could've pulled off something as outrageously macabre as a horror musical. His film adaptation of the hit musical Sweeney Todd is as brilliant as it is disturbing, with Johnny Depp delivering one of his finest performances under Burton's direction as the eponymous demon barber. Sondheim's haunting score follows Todd as he plans his vengeance against the judge who destroyed his life, raped his wife, and stole his daughter. This film has very few good characters, as nearly everybody is ruthless and murderous (Anthony and Joanna excluded, of course).
Remarkably, the blend of horror and musical works very well, with turn of the century London serving as the backdrop for the story of Sweeney Todd. Depp's chemistry with Helena Bonham Carter is impeccable as always and their horrific plan of using Todd's victims as the meat in her savory meat pies is quite unseemly. Alan Rickman is great as the villainous Judge Turpin, with Timothy Spall as his faithful assistant. Of course, the standout is Sacha Baron Cohen as a fake Italian barber who serves as Todd's first victim. Needless to say, the cast is absolutely stellar and help turn this super creepy penny dreadful into a memorable musical that is widely considered to be one of Burton's best films.
I respect Burton for not turning the film into a completely campy gorefest. He successfully maintained a sense of drama throughout the film. Even though Todd is a vicious serial killer, you still feel sorry for him and find yourself rooting for him to the very end. Sweeney Todd knows fully well what it's supposed to be and it doesn't disappoint, nor is it afraid to go that extra mile to invoke some serious emotion. It's a fine movie that stands out among Burton's impressive filmography.