Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Dance the razor.

I am definitely enchanted by Tim Burton’s movies. They seem to be like children’s movies – colorful, funny, full of strange things that want to be discovered and explored. But this is only a fleeting suggestion, because his movies are more movies told from the perspective of a child than they are children’s movies. This in itself does not say much about his style, because it still misses out on the thing that Tim Burton does scaringly well: he embraces the cruelty that is part of children’s life and of their attitude towards the world. Long-term consequences, careful planning and intrigues – this is not what steers his characters. It is the delight of the moment, both in pleasure and in cruelty, that guides his characters, that makes his characters so fascinating and so horrible.
Sweeney Todd’s tale is a classic tale that has been told many times. One of the most successful versions was a Broadway musical. This movie is based on the musical, it is itself a musical. I did not know this about the movie before I went into the cinema and I liked this aspect very much. Those of you who know me better are aware that I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan – and one of my favorite episodes is episode 7, season 6: Once more with feelings. An excellent 45-minute musical that brings the season’s plot forward on many different levels while still being completely entertaining. Tim Burton offers a bow to the Buffy musical by guest starring one of the main actors of the Buffy series, Anthony Steward Head (a.k.a. Giles). This gesture alone would have me reconciled with any possible shortcomings of the movie, but even without it, it was a good movie. You should be warned though: it is the bloodiest Tim Burton movie that I have seen so far. That should be no surprise though: a barber uses a razor, and it is not difficult to guess what a demon barber will do with a razor. However, even if this is a good movie, for me, it is not one of the best Tim Burton movies – I was not as much involved emotionally as I usually am in his movies. (I think I almost cried during the first five minutes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, something which never happened to me before.)
IMDb entry | Trailer


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