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Sweeney Todd (DVD)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Rated: 18.

Story: An eighteenth century barber has his wife and child stolen by a wicked judge who gets him transported to a penal colony. Years later, the barber returns, seeking revenge. When his plans don't go well, he takes out his frustration by giving a whole load of customers very close shaves and forming a lucrative business partnership with the lady who owns the pie shop downstairs.

Mmmmm... Gravy...

Comments: Thanks to a mechanised display at the Museum of Childhood, even my four-year-old knows the basic gist of Sweeney Todd - people go into the top floor wanting a shave and come out the bottom floor in parcels of pastry. There's not much more to it than that. The film expands on this with a subplot about Todd's lost daughter and adds some love interest with the pie lady but it's all rather predictable and hinges on huge coincidences. As with most musicals, the plot is merely an excuse for some singing. The songs in Sweeney Todd are nowhere near good enough to hold things together, however. None are particularly memorable and some are actually grating.

The visuals of the movie are more of a draw than the music. The sets, make-up and costumes are designed to give an impression of black and white which means the thick, red blood stands out strikingly. Unfortunately, combined with the liberal spurting effects, this makes the gorier scenes reminiscent of low budget zombie films rather than anything more artistic. As a bonus, though, since everyone looks as pale as if they've lived in a cave for a decade, Bonham-Carter appears healthier than normal.

The best bits of the film are the scenes with Sacha Baron Cohen. The rest of the cast do fine but it's ultimately a waste of everyone's talents. I prefer my daughter's version:

Everybody, everybody, everybody, everybody, everybody likes being a person.
Nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody likes being a pie!
Conclusion: People go in, pies come out. Now with added singing.

Explosions: None.
Cockroaches: Plenty.
Low point: The duet between Rickman and Depp. (Ooh, my ears!)
Blood: Gloopy and pink.
Cornish pasty, anyone?: Maybe I'll pass just now, thanks...

Rating: 2/5.


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