Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

PLOT:

Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), a skilled barber, is falsely charged and sentenced to a life of hard labor in Australia by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who lusts after Barker’s wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). Fifteen years later, under the assumed name “Sweeney Todd”, Barker returns to London with sailor Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower). At his old Fleet Street lodgings above Mrs. Sarah Lovett’s (Helena Bonham Carter) pie shop, he discovers that Lucy, having been raped by Turpin, has poisoned herself, and his teenage daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener) is now Turpin’s ward, and like her mother before her, is the object of his unwanted affections. Todd vows revenge, reopening his barber shop in the upstairs flat.

While roaming London, Todd’s shipmate Anthony spots Johanna and falls in love with her, but is ejected from the judge’s house by a disapproving Turpin and his associate, Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall). Far from being discouraged, the sailor becomes determined that the pair will elope. Meanwhile Todd, during a visit to the marketplace, denounces a fraudulent hair tonic by faux-Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen), and later humiliates him in a public shaving contest. Pirelli and his boy assistant Toby (Ed Sanders) visit Todd’s barbershop; Lovett keeps Toby occupied downstairs, while in the parlor Pirelli reveals himself to be Todd’s former assistant and attempts to blackmail him. To protect the secret of his true identity, Todd murders Pirelli.

Judge Turpin, intending to propose to Johanna, pays a visit to Todd’s parlor for grooming. Recognizing his tormentor, Todd relaxes the judge while preparing to slit his throat. Before he can do so, they are interrupted by Anthony, who, unaware of Turpin’s presence, bursts in and reveals his plan to elope with Johanna. Turpin leaves enraged, vowing to never return. Infuriated at being thwarted, Todd has an epiphany, and decides to vent his murderous rage upon his customers while waiting for another chance to kill Turpin. Lovett becomes his willing accomplice, suggesting they dispose of the bodies by baking them into pies to improve her business. Todd enthusiastically agrees, and rigs his barber’s chair with a pedal-operated mechanism, which deposits his victims through a trapdoor into Lovett’s bakehouse. As the weeks pass, Todd’s murders accumulate and Anthony begins to search for Johanna, who was sent by Turpin to Fogg’s insane asylum as punishment for her refusal to marry him.

The barbering and pie-making business prospers financially, and Lovett takes in young Toby. Anthony finally discovers Johanna’s whereabouts, and following Todd’s plan, poses as a wig-maker’s apprentice, allowing him access to the asylum to put a rescue plan into action. Todd’s motive for assisting is to lure Turpin back to the barber shop, and he sends Toby to the courthouse to let the judge know where he will find Johanna. Toby has become wary of Todd, and when he returns he tells Lovett of his distrust, unaware of her complicity in his activities. Beadle Bamford arrives at the barber shop and is murdered by Todd, and Lovett informs Todd of Toby’s suspicions. The pair search for Toby, whom Lovett has locked in the basement bakehouse to keep him out of the way. He is nowhere to be found, having hidden in the sewers after seeing the Beadle’s body drop into the room from the trapdoor above. Meanwhile, Anthony brings a disguised Johanna to the shop, where she hides herself in a trunk in a corner of the room.

A disfigured beggar woman, who has been pestering Todd, Lovett, and Anthony throughout the film, now makes her way into the shop. Todd kills her moments before Turpin arrives, then finally gets his revenge upon the corrupt Judge. As Johanna peeks out of the trunk she is hiding in, Todd spots her and prepares to slit her throat as well, not recognizing her as his daughter. A scream from Lovett diverts him to the basement, where she tells him that Turpin had still been alive and tried to grab at her dress before bleeding to death. Viewing the corpses in the light of the bakehouse fire, Todd discovers that the beggar woman was his wife, Lucy, whom he had believed to be dead based on Lovett’s account of the poisoning. Realizing that Lovett knew Lucy was alive, Todd begins to waltz maniacally with her around the bakehouse before hurling her into the open oven, were he watches Mrs. Lovett burn to death. He returns to Lucy and cradles her dead body as an enraged Toby emerges from the sewer and picks up Todd’s discarded razor. Todd, now wishing to die, silently offers his own neck to the boy, and Toby slits Todd’s throat. The movie ends with Todd bleeding over his dead wife, and Toby walking away.

REVIEW:

I’ve read reviews about this movie and the one thing they all seem to agree on is that the blood wasn’t believable. WTF?!? First of all, this is a Tim Burton movie. He does things over the top. Secondly, the excessively bright red was in a stark contrast to the gloomy backdrop of London.

There are those that say this is how a musical should be done, since they cut out a good portion of the songs and the ones that were kept were shortened. I don’t know if I agree with that, but it works for this one. This is a very good musical.

Who would have thought Johnny Depp could hold a tune. He’s not the best singer in the world, but he could be a lot worse. My beef with his performance is that he sounds like Capt. Jack Sparrow. Someone said he looks like Edward Scissorhands grew up and went psycho…lol

Helena Bonham Carter does an excelent job in her role. I wonder just how bad those pies were, though. They sure looked wretched!

I didn’t care for the ending, though. Toby comes up out of the sewer and slices Sweeney’s throat and for what reason? I didn’t too much care for that kid. Personally, I think more could have been spent with the sailor and Johanna, but that’s just me.

The music is awesome! The opening credits give you chills, and it just gets better from there.

I thoroughly recommend this to anyone, but if you’re squeamish, be warned, this film is up there with horror films in terms of blood spilled.

5 out of 5 stars

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4 Responses to “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

  1. […] bloody effects here remind me of a mixture between the bloody splatter effects in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street  and the video game God of War. The mixture may sound a bit eclectic, but, somehow the slight bit […]

  2. […] bloody effects here remind me of a mixture between the bloody splatter effects in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the video game God of War. The mixture may sound a bit eclectic, but, somehow the slight bit of […]

  3. […] pies. One of the reason I knew anything about Sweeney Todd when it was released, was because of this movie. The fact that an 8-year-old girl knows about this […]

  4. […] for the good of a few. Hmmm…who does this sound like? As evil as Poppy is, the woman went all Sweeney Todd and was grinding humans for food, the argument can be made that the president is the real villain of […]

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