El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

The character of the murderous Sweeney Todd has appeared in numerous stories dating back to 1846 when he appeared in a penny part serial entitled The String of Pearls: A Romance. He is usually joined by his accomplice Mrs. Lovett, the pie-maker who ingeniously helps dispose of the bodies. In Christopher Bond’s 1973 play The String of Pearls, he gave Sweeney Todd a motivation for the killings beyond greed. Stephen Sondheim adapted Bond’s play into the 1979 Tony Award-winning musical Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Director Tim Burton brought the musical to the screen in a fantastic film.

Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) returns to London after an exile of 15 years to seek revenge on Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) who had him wrongfully imprisoned and banished to Australia because the judge fancied his wife. Barker meets Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), an unsuccessful pie maker, who informs him that his wife poisoned herself and the judge made Barker’s daughter his ward. Under the name Sweeney Todd, Barker, a barber by trade, sets up shop above Lovett’s place waiting for the chance to give Turpin the closest shave of his life. A former associate recognizes Todd and attempts to blackmail him, but Todd and his razors make him a counteroffer he can’t refuse.

The day finally arrives when Turpin sits in Todd’s chair, but fate, in the form of Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower), upsets his plan. Hope, a young man Todd met on the ship from Australia, barges into the shop, seeking assistance to win the hand of Johanna (Jayne Wisener), Turpin’s ward, although she is not identified as such in front of Todd. Turpin and Hope have already had a run-in over her, and Turpin becomes so disappointed at the riffraff Todd associates with he storms off, claiming to never return. Todd is so furious about missing his chance with Turpin he throws Hope out.

The remainder of this review can be read at Blogcritics.

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