A musical gore. That was my impression upon watching the movie adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
The movie starts with the arrival of Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) in England, after being sentenced to cruel labor for fifteen years by a judge who desires nothing but his wife. He returns to his old home, above Mrs. Lovett’s Pie Shop, in Fleet Street. He meets the pie shop’s owner, obviously, the hag-looking Mrs. Lovett, who tells him of the cruel fate of his wife and daughter–the wife was raped by Turpin, the local judge who sentenced him, then committed suicide; the daughter, on the other hand, was adopted by the same judge.
It is here, after hearing of his family’s fate, that Barker adopts the name Sweeney Todd, a barber who desires nothing but revenge. But later on, his ideas of revenge transform him into a disturbed killer, taking the lives of those involved in his imprisonment, and even his innocent customers. The corpses of his victims are ground and used as an ingredient in Lovett’s pies (Yuck!), making them actually appetizing, causing the locals to crave for her pies. As the film reaches the end, Todd acquires his revenge, but at a horrible prize.
Overall, it was an impressive and bloody artwork. Full of frustration, projective emotion, hurt, some irony, and darkness. Imagine Johnny Depp singing a song of sadness, of not being able to see his daughter ever again, while at the same time, slitting the throats of his customers. I mean, normally, the music in scenes like these would be those haunting organ-driven or nerve-wrecking tunes, but a classical sad song?
As a cinematic eye-candy, I think the film would be better appreciated if viewed on the big screen (I watched it on VCD, *sigh!*). The overall view and feel of the film is gloomy (as compared to the bright past of Barker, which were flashed for maybe a couple of times in the first hour), accentuating the theme of revenge. It’s one of those films that plays on the premise of “beauty in pain, suffering, and revenge.” Honesty, I thought its musical being was overshadowed by its gloominess and story. It was still okay, though–a film, a director, and an actor worthy of awards.