Notes on Sweeney Todd


I hate musicals. I could not watch Chicago beyond the first hour. I hate Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. I can tolerate Singing in the Rain, but only because of the stunning choreography. All of those movies are undoubtedly great works of art and are widely appreciated. I think I hate them because I don’t want singing and dancing in English movies after putting up with them in all the Tamil movies I watch.

I have also always hated the fact that I hate musicals. One of the musicals that I watched in a theatre and adored was Moulin Rouge! The humour was earthy and often wicked. I love what they did with the Police song ‘Roxenne’. And for years after that movie, musicals that stick their middle finger up at the nostalgia and innocence that most such films celebrate were probably not made. But if anyone could make one, it was Tim Burton.

Sweeney Todd, Burton’s latest, features his regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in key roles in addition to the awesome Alan Rickman as a leeching judge. Depp is one of those actors whose reputation is so huge it can never match his acting skills. In other words, because of Edward Sissorhands, Finding Neverland and some half a dozen other movies, Depp is so big in our minds that whatever acting he does can never meet our expectations. Well, at least not mine. So I looked at this performance as carefully as I could and am slightly disappointed that I could never detected any flaws in his acting.

It’s a role that calls for varied expressions some of which are hard to express without being mocked at. Depp’s role is essentially of a loser on a revenge path. Burton’s nicely mucks up the plot delivering a neat but predictable twist in the end. I guess you need to watch the movie for that to know more about what I am saying here.

Depp plays Todd, who at the beginning of the movie is returning from Australia after being wrongfully imprisoned there by the judge who was after his wife. Everyone has been raving about Depp’s singing skills. When Chicago was released, I was shocked that Catherine Zeta Jones could sing. Later I realised that most Hollywood actors are also passably good singers.

Take for instance Val Kilmer, who was the lead actor in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. When he sang ( and he sings all the songs in the movie), I could never tell his voice from Jim Morrison’s. Depp as Todd is better.

(I wrote this post so long back, I don’t even remember what I wanted to write. I guess this is a shoddy job of reviewing a movie, but this one will have to do for now)

Last blog on Sweeney Todd

3 responses to “Notes on Sweeney Todd

  1. Your review shows your interest in movies. And for guys like me, who are not uptodate on Hollywood movies, it is informative too. Thanks


  2. thanks Srinivas for your kind words. means a lot to me. 🙂


  3. Great! It’s wonderful to “meet” someone shares my impressions.


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