Monday, 8 June 2009

Sweeney Todd : The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

Sometimes obsession makes us do things that we wouldn't even dare to think about in the right frame of mind. Wise men said that when we stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at us. Obsession tends to blind us, make us go on a one way track, without thinking about any dire consequences such activities might entail. Surely, that is the principle question which this musical asks from its audience. Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) was a happily married barber with a beautiful wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly) and a baby daugther Johanna. Unfortunately, a corrupt and amoral, highly influential Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) fell for his wife and framed him for a crime he did not commit. After being incarcerated for fifteen years, he managed to escape into the sea and rescued by a young English sailor, Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower). Barker returned to London, gripped in an intense obsession to seek vengeance upon Turpin. He renamed himself Sweeney Todd and went to seek out the previous landlady, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) to rent back his old premise. Recently widowed, Mrs. Lovett operates a bakery selling meat pies and secretly harbour a passion for Todd. Mrs. Lovett shared that Lucy was raped by Turpin and had committed suicide and Johanna was now under Turpin's care. In order to lure Turpin and fulfill his vengeance, with a readily agreeing accomplice in the form of Mrs. Lovett, Todd went to the market and challenged the best barber in the city called Adolfo Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen). Todd won, purposely in front of Turpin's vile assistant, Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall). When Bamford advised Turpin for a shave at Todd's, the later very nearly manage to kill him but missed due to an untimely arrival of Hope, who had earlier met and fell in love with a now teenage Johanna (Jayne Wisener) and had requested Todd for assistance to allow them to stay a night at his barbershop as both Hope and Johanna plans to elope. Hope was earlier also beaten by Bamford under the instruction of Turpin for daring to fall for his muse, whom he secretly wanted to marry. An enraged Turpin swore never to go to the barbershop again and Todd went absolutely ballast over his failure. Thus, in his rage, he swore to kill every men in London who comes into his barbershop for a shave and to get rid of the bodies, Mrs Lovett would grind their remains to be made into meat pies. After dispatching Pirelli, who recognised Todd as Barker because he was a former apprentice and intend to blackmail him, Mrs Lovett took in Pirelli's young assistance, Toby (Ed Sanders) out of pity of the severe beatings he got from Pirelli. At the end, everything would tied up together, resulting in literally bloody climax which left me shuddering. Typical of Tim Burton, the visuals are deliciously dark and Gothic but never would I expect a musical as gory and visually violent as this one.

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