If Johnny Depp doesn’t get the Oscar for his electrifying performance as Sweeney Todd, then it will confirm one thing: that the movie star academy has a vendetta against him. He was both mesmerizing and menacing in Tim Burton’s gruesome and gory adaptation of Sondheim’s musical. Depp’s singing was also superb. If he based his character Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” on Keith Richards, then he must have pitched his singing voice to reflect David Bowie’s skills.
The whole movie was incredible. As usual, Burton skillfully mixed the macabre with the wonderfully weird. The whole cinematic atmosphere was like “Sin City” meets “Oliver!” and it worked beautifully. Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett was the perfect partner to Depp’s Todd. She oozed malice in a gorgeous way. The seaside scene from the musical, in the midst of all the blood and gore, was a hilarious relief. Both Depp and Carter were like Frankenstein creations. Their make up made them look like menacing mannequins, brought to life by the evil of the times.
Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall were so ugly in the movie that the audience cheered when their throats were splayed open and a fountain of blood gushed forth. Tim Burton definitely did not hold back on the special effects. The slitting of throats was so severe that I had to look away from the screen several times.
In the end the movie leaves you with that “wow” experience. You know that you’ve been to a great theatrical and cinematic experience. If Sweeney misses out on snapping up most of the Oscars, then Hollywood needs to have its own critical throat cut. “Sweeney Todd” is more than just a movie: it’s destined to become a cultural classic.