Sex and love. Some seek it, some need it, some spurn it and some pay for it, but we're all involved in it. Set on one afternoon on Hampstead Heath, London, the film investigates the minutiae of seven couples. What makes us tick?
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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.
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I loved the story of Sweeney Todd after seeing Johnny Depp do the musical number. I loved it so much I am looking for other versions. This one is outstanding.
Unlike Depp's version, this one with Ray Winstone (The Proposition, The Departed, Sexy Beast, Beowulf) is a truer picture of the dark and grimy London of the 18th Century. It is so bad, that you have to cover your nose with a handkerchief when you approach the beggars in the jail to give them a penny.
Sweeney did not set out to kill anyone. He was visited in his barber shop by a jailer that brought back old memories. He killed him without thinking and each time got easier. He becomes attracted to a pie maker Mrs. Lovett (Essie Davis - Charlotte's Web, Maggie from The Matrix sequels). In the course of that relationship, we are introduced to abortion, spousal abuse, and atheism. She is married at the time, but as barbers were also surgeons (without anesthesia, I might add) he dispatches her husband in the process of removing a stone.
They become friends as he is unable to perform, and he sets her up in her own pie shop. She has a steady stream of lovers which he dispatched and presents to her as meat from his brother. She is clueless as to what is going on. This is a far different version than I have seen before and you are really hooked to see what is going to happen. There are some side stories involving a policeman, and Sweeney's father that really added to the mystery.
Winstone and Davis were superb, as was David Warner as the local Magistrate.
The only complaint I had was not really every seeing Mrs Lovett's pies. As Sweeney peeked in on her trysts, we just got to see the guy on top. They could have given us a little peek.
This was slightly better than the Ben Kingsly version, but there are more to see, including another musical.
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