Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written By: John Logan, Hugh Wheeler, Christopher Bond
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 56 min
Tim Burton finally does a truly adult film. Oddly, his film’s have always been dark so it doesn’t feel too different in style and tone, it’s just bloody! The look is pure Burton, and Victorian London has never looked grimier. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter are on great form and clearly having fun whilst Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall flex their considerable villainous muscles.
Depp as the demon barber is very apt here, his adoration and wielding of his straight razors whilst in the attic room calls memories of his and Burton’s other visually striking creation – Edward Scissorhands. It’s all very theatrical and the stage origins of this iteration of the mythical, perhaps true story seem to have influenced its grandiose swagger. The only downside? Well, as much as we are used to music in Burton’s films and even previous musicals, the songs here are drab and unmemorable. For a film based on a musical I would have thought the songs to be a little more hummable. The actors try their best at singing for the first time but I think the overlapping tendency that most songs have where two songs clash together can have a harsh almost atonal unpleasant effect on the ear. I missed Danny Elfman on this one.
Altogether I wish there was less singing and the film was shorter as the story is very simple and feels a little overly bloated. The final effect is that it’s an interesting experiment but overly languid and leaves you feeling bleak and never wanting a pie again.
Johnny Depp as a historical singing murderer! Yes, indeed. Gleefully and theatrically bloody thirsty it is and very pretty in a dark and dirty artful way. Be warned there is singing almost always throughout though.
HD really brings out the great set and art design.
Best scene for me:
The scene where Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) sings about going to the seaside is great as we get a great visual montage of her infatuation with Depp going from a picnic to a walk on a pier to marriage, all in colourful sunshine. Much needed light in this dark dank tale.