The story is based on the hit Broadway musical which tells the infamous story of Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp). A simple barber, Barker and his wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly) are living peacefully in mid-nineteenth century London with their little daughter but when evil Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) covets Barker's wife, he has him falsely imprisoned and deported.
Many years later Barker returns to London under the new name of Sweeney Todd but when he visits the pie shop of old friend Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), she tells him that his wife had poisoned herself and that his daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener) was now the legal ward of Judge Turpin. Mrs. Lovett encourages Todd to open up his barber shop in a spare room above her pie shop and the two enter into a diabolical blood and pie fest as he takes out his rage on unsuspecting customers while plotting to free Johanna and kill the evil Turpin.
Johnny Depp is marvellous as the tortured and enraged Todd while Bonham Carter plays Mrs. Lovett beautifully. Also excellent is Timothy Spall as the appalling nasty Beadle Bamford, Alan Rickman does the evil Judge Turpin to a tee and Sacha Baron Cohen turns in a wonderfully, over-the-top performance as Signor Adolfo Pirelli, Todd's competitor in the barbering business. It's no suprise to see Depp and Bonham Carter here as they are both Burton favourites. They both played in his Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while Depp also starred in Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands and Bonham Carter appeared in Big Fish and Planet of the Apes.
The story of Sweeney Todd was written sometime back in the mid nineteenth century so it's a pretty well-known tale. It's been done several times before this and I remember Freddie Jones doing an excellent portrayal of Todd in a TV version back in 1970. However, Depp certainly does the business with the character and he can even sing. The musical aspect of the movie does help to avoid it being a slasher flic as the blood certainly does flow once he gets going.
If you're squeamish at all, then you might be better avoiding this one as it is pretty grim in the gore stakes. I'm not sure it deserved an 18 certificate but it's definitely not one for the kids. Fans of Depp or Burton will love it.
Genre: Crime, Musical, Thriller
My Rating: 8/10