Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Sweeney reviews

The reviews for Sweeney Todd are starting to come in and, so far, it's a major thumbs up.

Variety's Todd McCarthy says: 'Both sharp and fleet, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Stree” proves a satisfying screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s landmark 1979 theatrical musical. Where much could have gone wrong, things have turned out uniformly right thanks to highly focused direction by Tim Burton, expert screw-tightening by scenarist John Logan, and haunted and musically adept lead performances from Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Assembled artistic combo assures the film will reap by far the biggest audience to see a pure Sondheim musical, although just how big depends on the upscale crowd’s tolerance for buckets of blood, and the degree to which the masses stay away due to the whiff of the highbrow.

"In all events, DreamWorks-Paramount and Warner Bros. have a classy and reasonably commercial delicacy on their hands. Some Broadway purists will gripe about how the film of Sweeney Todd omits and abridges certain songs, reshapes the drama to a degree or just can’t measure up to their cherished memories of Angela Lansbury’s wondrous performance as Mrs. Lovett. But it will be hard to argue that Burton and his cohorts have not imaginatively reconceived the piece as a work of cinema; strictly in film terms, Sweeney is seamless, coherent and vibrant, with scarcely a trace of Broadway."

While The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt had this to say: "Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a savage tale of cannibalism, madness and serial murder, is now Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd. The show couldn't have fallen into better hands. With realistic gore replacing the stylistic bloodletting in the stage version, "Sweeney" loses some of its darkly comic tone -- not a lot of laughs here except the nervous kind.

"The blood juxtaposed to the music is highly unsettling. It runs contrary to expectations. Burton pushes this gore into his audiences' faces so as to feel the madness and the destructive fury of Sweeney's obsession. Teaming with Depp, his long-time alter ego, Burton makes Sweeney a smoldering dark pit of fury and hate that consumes itself. With his sturdy acting and surprisingly good voice, Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages."

1 comment:

Gerard said...

As I'm sure will come as no surprise, I've been following the early word intently, and there's a few things I've noticed. Firstly, for the most part, those who like it LOVE it, quite a few think it's fantastic but that the violence is very off-putting, some have gripes with the translation of the stage show to screen, but a lot of these reviewers keep mentioning that the film has really stuck with them, and they believe it may play better on repeat viewings (or, in the case of a couple who've been lucky enough to see it more than once, claim it infact does play better the second time round, which you yourself said too).

So all in all, it's looking very, very good!