Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10


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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sweeney Todd (Tim Burton, 2007)



Sweeney Todd is the antithesis of the traditional holiday movie; dark, bloody, and almost completely sung. But here it was, the weekend before Christmas, and Tim Burton's adaptation of the Broadway play came in fifth at the box office. For once, this was a happy surprise. While not Burton's best film, it is probably his most realized vision yet. Burton teams yet again with Johnny Depp in the title role of the man wronged by a lecherous judge (Alan Rickman, who is, as always, great), put in prison, and had his wife and child taken from him. 15 years later, he's bak in the guise of Sweeny Todd, and he's looking for revenge.

But it's not just the judge Todd is looking for revenge on; it's the entire world, as shown in the very first song, in which Todd describes London in the most pessimistic terms possible. But since this is basically Dickens' London, it is a filthy, poverty-stricken place. Burton's London is a place where the sun never shines, there are rats and roaches everywhere (even in the meat pies), and people are poor and getting poorer. The only time we see the sun in the film is during Mrs. Lovett's (Helena Bonham Carter, of course) fantasy sequence of her and Todd's imaginary life. This is one of the most pessimistic films in recent memory.

That being said, all the performances are fantastic. Some have said that Depp is a lock for a best actor Oscar, and while he wouldn't be my first choice, I certainly wouldn't be disappointed by it. Carter is a mix of Burton's corpse bride and a strung-out Marla Singer, a truly creepy and opportunistic businesswoman who finds a way to make murder profitable (quite the commentary on the beginning of the industrial revolution. The supporting cast is solidly good, especially Sacha Baron Cohen as Todd's rival barber, the only comic relief in this bleak film. Much has been said about the gore in the film, but the blood doesn't look realistic at all. It's theatrical gore, and while it's shocking in context, it certainly isn't disgusting. Sweeney Todd may not be the feel-good movie of the season, but it sure is a good one.

8/10

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Comments on "Sweeney Todd (Tim Burton, 2007)"

 

Blogger CG said ... (10:24 AM) : 

Hopefully I'll be seeing this one tomorrow. Really looking forward to it. It's been torture knowing it's playing and not being able to go. Just out of curiosity, what is your favorite Burton film? Mine is Sleepy Hollow, but I always get sh*t for it. Ha.

 

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