Friday, December 21, 2007

The Demon Barber ... a safe pre-review

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

starring Johnny Depp
produced by Tim Burton

When I saw a little clip not long ago of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, my jaw literally dropped when I heard Johnny singing! I sure hoped it was more than a couple of minutes. Okay, I knew nothing of the musical before this so it was all new to me and I have no comparisons to make to the original. I don't honestly care about comparisons.

I've read a couple of critical reviews already saying his voice, and others, are thin on the soundtrack. Thin. Hmm... I'm really very critical about music and voices myself, and I was in constant awe of just how well he did with the part. He's an actor, not a singer. Okay, he was into music before acting. Still, he's not a trained singer as you get in most musicals. Neither is Helena Bonham Carter. And Sondheim musicals are particularly not so easy to sing. The parts were complex, with quick tempos and battling duets, but they were brilliant.

What do you get when you put an actor into a singing role? You get an acted musical, not only a performed musical. Johnny acted this singing role so perfectly, I was honestly on the verge of tears now and then and I did have goosebumps -- not because of the story line, but because of the performance. All of the performances were good. His was exquisite.

It is rated R for violence and sexual inuendos, and of course with the story line it is graphic violence, but it's not overly distasteful. It's "Hollywood graphic" more than "reality graphic" and I much prefer that. A "horror wimp" like myself got through it with no big issues.

There were times I was chuckling out loud and times when I was trying to help "write" the plot in my head (career hazard, I suppose), but in general, I was completely drawn in and full of nothing except the incredible film invading my thoughts. That's hard to do. Few films hold my attention that well ... well enough to shove aside my list of everything I should have been doing in order to be truly focused.

This is a must see for those who love pure expressive art, as it is a true rainbow blend of all of the arts at once. Now to find the soundtrack. And I'm hoping to find time to see it in the theater again.

No comments: