Unique Madness

Brianna Concepcion

Tim Burton did it again. Not only has he, directed a fantastic unique film. He has converted a play to film and still maintained its grotesque and musical essence.  Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street was a Tony award winning musical from 1979. Since the 1980’s he wanted  to make this play into a film, but not until 2006 did he have the opportunity to realize his dream. The play and movie Sweeney Todd are a musical placed in the 19th century in a frightening version of London. It is a dark revenge tragedy with heartbreak and cannibalism.

This is a classic movie for Tim Burton. Burton is known for his gothic and bizarre style that has made him a unique director.  He has previously directed movies such as Alice and Wonderland, Dark Shadows, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Even some of my personal favorites like Beetlejuice, 9, James and The Giant Peach, and Edward Scissorhands. His films usually contain flashbacks and a misunderstood main character that are outcast from the rest. The films also  include black and white stripes in their main character’s wardrobe.. The film was released  on December 21, 2007, after Corpse Bride and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, which were great films themselves. Burton usually cast d the same actors including Johnny Depp, Jeffrey Jones, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, Michael Keaton, and even his now ex-wife Helena Bonham Carter. Johnny Depp even took vocal classes to prepare for this role and he nailed it. Helena Bonham Carter’s interpretation of the character Mrs. Lovett was amazing. In one of the scenes, where she is almost killed by Todd, she seems scared and kind of turned on by his insanity and she was able to portray that to the audience tle. The excellent choice of actors over and over has helped maintain Tim Burton’s unique tone. He is a brilliant director and producer.

As an illustration the film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street begins very similarly to another of Burton’s films – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a surreal and unsettling introduction. In the very first song, it tells a story of Benjamin Barker ( Depp) a very good,  happy barber with  a wife and daughter. Then one day Judge Turpin, who was obsessed with Barker’s wife, sends him to jail in Australia to get him out of the way.  After  15 years Barker comes back seeking revenge and begins to call himself Sweeney Todd. Todd rents out the old barber shop on top of a nasty meat pie place owned by Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) and is secretly in love with Barker. After she discovers he is Benjamin Barker and becomes his partner in crime.

With this in mind, he sings “They all deserve to die. Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why! Because in all of the whole human race, Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men and only two. There’s the one staying put in his proper place and one with his foot in the other one’s face”. He is referring to the  judge was the one who puts his foot on his face. All of the sudden things go dark r quickly because he is told by Ms. Lovett that his wife died and that his daughter lives with the judge. Todd’s thirst for blood and revenge makes him go on a killing spree with his shaving blade. He becomes quite creative and begins to act on  his psychopathic ideas. . Todd then dumps the bodies  from his barber chair to  the basement so Mrs. Lovett can use the human meat to expand her meat pie shop. The story starts becoming more complicated and gives an unexpected ending that left me amazed.

Burton’s films have always had this creepy unique way of thinking which fit perfectly with this story. As a result, he created a masterpiece of a horror musical that no other director could accomplish but Burton. It fits his shadowy, misunderstood style.   It was a beautiful musical and  grotesque like no other. For example, the blood was introduced in  the beginning in abundance creating a violent feeling to it and adds to the horrific tone. The constant dark setting kept the model of the main character in mind. There were a few cutaways that reflected off more “positive” times where there was light in Benjamin Barker life.

Ultimately, I would rate this movie 4.9 out of 5 stars. The only reason I don’t give it a perfect score was because it took the focus away from Joanna the daughter of Baker who seemed to be out of place from the plot. The movie had countless positive aspects that made the film stand out from any other film and musical. The amazing performance of Johnny Depp and Helena Carter. They really portray their characters as messed up people who will do anything to get what they want. The film itself has strong language in the first song. It maintains a positive side of things which is Anthony and Joanna kind of bright side of the film. Joanna could escape the darkness that was in London all around. Although the ending was tragic and frustrating it fit the film’s rare madness. What are you waiting for! GO! Watch Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.