Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Good, The Bad and the Cinematic: Sweeney Todd

It's almost surprising to find that Sweeney Todd is Tim Burton's first feature to receive an 18-rating in the UK. His dark stylings have long scraped by purely because they remain no more than heavy undertones. Frankly speaking, Johnny Depp was so disturbing in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that I would have given it an 18 rating after two minutes of him being on screen. Perhaps more surprising is that when Burton finally does achieve and '18' I reckon it only deserves a '15'. Yes, it's violent, and yes there is lots of blood, but due to the theatrical nature of the blood and the fact that Depp is generally singing (quite well) when he does takes away from the shock value somewhat.

It's a fun enough film though, with a fantastic aesthetic provided in the murky streets of a forgotten London, and Sondheim's fantastic score coming across well on screen - perhaps the only criticism of the music could be that, like in other established successes (Phantom of the Opera springs to mind), after a while all the songs sound rather similar.

The problem with the film is that it never quite reaches the expectations it sets for itself. A Tim Burton musical horror with Johnny Depp in the lead. And it's good, it really is. It just isn't spectacular, or even great. Just good. It's still worth a watch, don't get me wrong - just try No Country For Old Men first.


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