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Michelle Van Der Water,
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Part of the plot involves a string of pearls. The Sweeney Todd story first appeared in a story entitled 'The String of Pearls: A Romance'. See more »
Some of the "corpses" Todd is chopping up in his cellar are still breathing. See more »
Man in crowd:
She runs a brothel with these two. Obviously hasn't been pounding the justice enough. They'll make her pay in Newgate.
Stop it! It's wrong!
Man in crowd:
Get off me! Of course you'd stick up for that sorry slut.
See more »
18th century London is a rottenly decayed and scummy city that has a horrific secret. The stoutly quiet Sweeny Todd is a well renown barber of London. Supposedly the best, as customers come and go with nothing but high praise for his fluent skills. One day, he basically loses it after some childhood memory triggers a reaction to slit a customer's throat. He cuts up the body and chucks into the river. Then he goes on as if nothing as happened, but these sudden outbursts soon become a pattern. Mrs Lovett has caught his eye and they form a relationship, where he helps her start up a bakery shop near his shop. So now, Todd is providing her with the meat, unknown to her that they are his leftovers.
Fact or fiction is the question of this horror figure? This legendary serial killer figure is the central attraction in this boldly inventive and refreshing British TV feature of the grisly exploits and humane reactions of Sweeny Todd. What could have been just another formulaic story, treads the very well because the thoughtfully encouraged script is brought to life by sensationally characterised performances and a richly atmospheric Victorian setting that reeks with an grimly morbid discharge. The ugliness and the earthly dour colours of it only enhances the cold nature and violently graphic carnage that awaits. It could have gone over board with its unpleasantness, but in the long run the killings do actually play second fiddle to the bustling characters and their complex inner goings. Largely Todd's past. These moments of violence are no more than short and precise bursts that maintain brute force in their confronting depictions.
Giving more weight to the black and white premise are the actors themselves. Their textured performances would go on to help those harrowing examinations become truly stimulating and the ingeniously plotted story strikes up a provocative script (by Joshua St. Johnson), which they shape off and morph expertly. Streaming throughout is an claustrophobic build up in the film's hardboiled direction by David Moore and the tension he does orchestrate is plain nerve wrecking. Ray Winstone's scarred performance is emotionally powering and increasingly deep, despite his understated take of the character. He plays it humbly calm, but when the cracks appear Winstone does it with great integrity and menace. Essie Davis' upfront and igniting performance is nothing but excellent as the whore Mrs Lovett who desires any sort of companionship she can get. There seems to be a strong (and at times surreal) sexual charge between the two that's interestingly displayed. The compelling supporting cast do their jobs. David Warner is professionally solid in a strictly mild turn and Tom Hardy is sincerely perfect in his role as an up-and-coming police officer. The film is stylishly photographed and can become intrusively lingering when it wants to capture that scummy tenor with visual punch. The trance-like musical score is beautifully harmonious and demonstrates some otherworldly cues that only adds more to the brooding nature.
"Sweeny Todd" the director's cut is an exceptionally high quality TV presentation, which is meaningfully acted, unpredictably written and daringly directed. Highly recommended.
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