Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ★★★★½

It's Halloween, witches! I know this is not actually a Halloween movie, but the atmosphere fits perfectly. And Sacha Baron Cohen is in it... You know. Perfect movie for me right now.

Sweeney Todd means a lot to me and I don't even like the movie itself too much. It's good and interesting and all, but if it didn't have its music I'd like it much less. I'm a huge fan of Stephen Sondheim and this movie was part of becoming one. More than that, it was part of becoming a fan of musicals in general. The first thing I saw of Sondheim was the Into the Woods movie in early 2015 and I fell deeply in love with it. Only at second sight, but at some point before the fourth rewatch in a year it happened. And by now it's one of my favorite movies from the last decade. At the end of that year I watched Sweeney Todd because I had learned that it's a musical movie with music from the same composer. And watching this film and hearing its music was like another epiphany (pun intended) after my Into the Woods experience. I was so fascinated that I watched it three times in the first two weeks.

If you're American it might seem weird to you that it took me two film adaptations of Stephen Sondheim's work to even hear of him (at least I heard he's more famous than that over there), but you have to consider that I'm from a non-English speaking European country where his work is not really known at all. To this day I'm one of very few people I know who even know who he is, and most of these other people know him because I showed them some of his stuff. Most of his musicals never got theatrical runs in my country and there are very few film adaptations of his work, which would really help since movies are a lot more accessible than stage musicals. So it's actually no wonder that he's not really known here. Still very sad though.

Anyway, even though the film didn't get me as much as the music, I quite liked it and I have to admit that I like it more with every rewatch. I'm not a Tim Burton fan but he did a solid job on this adaptation. Even the one and only musical god Stephen Sondheim himself liked it as far as I remember, and he didn't like the previous adaptations of his work. So how could I not like it then? There are some really cool shots in this movie, especially the push ins and pull outs. I know there are a bit too many but they look great nonetheless. I'm not a fan of the extremely limited color palette though. Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and my honey Sacha give incredible performances. There's that story that Sacha wanted this role so desperately he performed a whole show at the audition, and I really wanna believe in that cause it's a great anecdote. Helena Bonham-Carter and Johnny Depp are doing fine, but I watched that crappy bootleg of the original Broadway run once and when you do that you really realize what kind of actors these roles require. In a nutshell: older people and better singers. But whatever. They're okay.

If you're interested in Sweeney Todd's music, I highly recommend this video. One of the most interesting things I've watched about music. And I recommend checking out more of Stephen Sondheim's work if you don't know it just like me a few years ago. If you're fan though, this might be interesting.

Before this rewatch I rated this movie four stars, but now I thought... fuck it. The film itself is not worth it, but it means too much to me to go lower than 4.5. You can imagine how I freaked when I saw the original costumes at the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles last year.
And a little side note: this was my 100th review:)🎉

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