It’s worth knowing before seeing this movie that is based on a musical and is extremely blood-thirsty. Interestingly, Wikipedia says this may or may not be based on a real story (minus the singing I would presume). Spoiler alert below, so be warned.
Sweeney Todd is set in London around the time of Jack the Ripper, and centres around the character Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), a barber who is returning to London after 15 years of enduring some kind of punishment/banishment that we never find out much about.
Sweeney in his youth was called Benjamin Barker, and he was married to a beautiful woman and had a gorgeous daughter. An evil high judge however has his eye on his wife, and charges Benjamin with something false (I’m not sure again what this was – it was skipped over) to get Benjamin out of his way.
Fast-forward 15 years and Benjamin now calls himself Sweeney Todd, and is back for his wife, daughter, revenge and some random serial killing.
Sweeney meets Mrs Lovatt (Helena Bonham Carter), who has opened up a pie shop under his former apartment (how is it his apartment is still vacant after being missing for 15 years? ), who tells Sweeney that his wife poisoned herself and the judge adopted his daughter as his ward.
Thus starts Sweeney’s cycle of violence, blood shed and revenge – although he takes revenge in an interesting way – by slaughtering his customers and turning them into pies… This was the point where I started to feel quite ill.
The singing was also really off-putting. Some musical translate really well to film, like Hairspray, which incorporated the songs into the action. In Sweeney Todd, however, I found the songs dragged on and diverted the attention from the story. The music actually was really great – as you would expect from an award-winning musical, and the cinematography was similarly fabulous, recreating gothic London in all its dirty glory.
I was hoping in vain for a happy ending so I could go home and not have nightmares, but it wasn’t to be. I had to watch So You Think You Can Dance on TV when I got home to distract myself and get to sleep!
After the bloody massacre, we were feeling ill, but still needed to eat. We stumbled upon this little place near the cinema – Mr Wong’s Kitchen. What a find it was! We will definitely be going back again – it was super clean, great service and fabulous food.