Four Stars for Sweeney Todd

I saw Sweeney Todd a few years back at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and it blew my freakin’ mind.  I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t expect much–maybe a couple notches above high school-play quality–but the U of A theater kids put on a Broadway-quality performance.  Shocking, ridiculously good.

Tim Burton’s film adapation of Sondheim’s masterpiece affected me the same way.  It’s brilliant.

Although he’s a helluva pretty man and a gifted actor, I’ve never been that into Johnny Depp.  But now?  Momma likey.  Even in the Demon Barber’s trademark ghoulish makeup and shabby dress, Depp’s Sweeney Todd thrums with virility.  And yes, Depp can sing.  He isn’t a trained opera singer and he doesn’t try to be one, but he possesses a pleasing, light baritone, and he uses it well.  His achievement is all the more impressive when one remembers that the songs in Sweeney Todd are notoriously difficult even for the most gifted and rigorously trained singers.  Most remarkable is that Depp doesn’t just survive the songs: he actually adds something.  As in the very best Broadway shows, there is no disconnect between the music and the acting.  Rather, there is a perfect and unforced flow from music to dialogue and back, and the two forms of expression amplify each other, making the film a wonder.  Anyone who has ever done musical theater understands that pulling this off is extremely difficult.  Depp does it the best, but co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman succeed as well.  Standing out in particular are “Pretty Women,” performed by Depp and Rickman, and the achingly beautiful “Nothing’s Gonna Harm You” performed by Ed Sanders, who plays Toby.

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this movie, so I’ll just end here by urging, nay, BEGGING you to rush out and see Sweeney Todd.  Please, really.

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~ by lewdandlascivious on December 31, 2007.

2 Responses to “Four Stars for Sweeney Todd”

  1. I read this awesome Ann Coulter quote and thought of you…

    “Of course, if I start going around making disjointed speeches that make liberals cry, Barack Obama might accuse me of stealing his act.”- Ann Coulter, http://www.townhall.com/columnists/AnnCoulter/2007/09/30/liberals_and_the_woman_who_hates_them

  2. Haha,thanks! Ann doesn’t mess around, does she? 🙂

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