I’d been really looking forward to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street for some time. Ever since I saw the first pic of Johnny Depp as Todd I was sold. Every time Depp and director Tim Burton join forces, something magical happens. At least, in my estimation. For your consideration: Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Ed Wood (the latter two I haven’t seen yet, to be honest). Even if you don’t share my opinion, you have to admit, when these two hook up, the moviegoer at the very least is going to get something interesting.

This movie is no different. Full of dreary, desaturated tones (there must be, like, 1,000 different shades of gray in this movie), the cinematography is typical Burton, but as always, it underscores the themes of the movie perfectly. And I can’t help but love Depp’s Todd. Playing a family man barber wrongfully accused of a crime and sent away while his wife and young daughter fall prey to an evil, corrupt judge (Alan Rickman in his slimy best), Depp imbues Todd with a persistent rage borne of forced heartbreak; Todd is tunnel-visioned in his quest for retribution, his means less than gentle. Or legal (but dammit if he doesn’t look like he’s having fun doing it).

Shortly after meeting hapless meat pie maker Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), who’s business goes unpatronized less the dozens of roaches crawling about the prep table, and missing his first chance to slay the villainous judge, Todd and Lovett form an insidious pact: he murders victims to satisfy his blood lust, she grinds up the bodies into her meet pies. All goes well until Mrs. Lovett’s young helper, Toby (left alone as the result of Sweeney’s blade), becomes privy to the true source of the pies’ meat, and a misinformed slash of Todd’s razor ends in the final loss of someone he already thought was gone. The resulting end is inevitable, yet none less tragic.

In fact, it’s that ending that has me on the fence as far as getting the DVD when it comes out. Again, the way the story wraps up is inevitable; Todd is, basically, a good man gone serial killer. But Depp is just so good and enjoyable and downright likable… I just wished something else could’ve happened, even though the conventions of the story (not to mention the history of the Broadway musical it’s based on) say it can’t.

I didn’t even have a problem with the much-vaunted gore factor, and I can be as big a wuss as they come when it pertains to people getting sliced onscreen. Still, I wouldn’t take young kids to see it (like the idiots in front of us did. And they wonder why the world’s so messed up).

Bottom line, great story (the plot is simple, yet effective), great visuals and great acting. And the singing wasn’t bad, either (though at the beginning the music was too loud to discern what was being said, but the story was still easy to follow). It definitely made for a fun night at the movies. But I must admit…

I’m gonna look twice at my barber the next time he picks up a straight edge.

Reel Deel Rating (out of 5):

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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

Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman

Director: Tim Burton

Genre: thriller, crime, musical

Trailer Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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