In Tim Burton's awesomely creepy masterpiece "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" Johnny Depp gives his best performance since we were first introduced to Captain Jack Sparrow.
Depp is the definition of a scene-stealer in the film, turning in a dark, heartbreaking performance that is truly mesmerizing.
Based on the 1979 Broadway musical, the story closely follows Todd as he seeks his revenge against those who have turned him in a monster of a man. Fifteen years before, Todd was known as Benjamin Barker, a well respected barber, husband and father. But Barker's life was destroyed when a judge named Turpin (Alan Rickman, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix") became infatuated with his wife and had him arrested on phony charges and sent away to prison in Australia.
After escaping from prison, Barker travels back to London under the alias of Todd, ready to reclaim his family, but instead he discovers his wife poisoned herself long ago and his daughter was taken to become the ward of the very judge who ruined his life.
So with the help of his neighbor, a meat pie maker named Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter, "Fight Club"), who by her own admission makes the worst pies in London, Todd sets out to do in those who have done him wrong. Along the way the pair make good use of the numerous corpses, turning the bodies in ground meat for Mrs. Lovett's pies. The ingenious plan turns her once customer-less business into a thriving hotspot while leaving no evidence of a murder.
Depp plays Todd as a man completely consumed by revenge. No mater how hard Mrs. Lovett tries, she cannot make him stray from his ultimate goal of killing Judge Turpin. As the story advances, Todd becomes less and less of a sympathetic character, transforming from man rightfully seeking justice to an almost inhuman monster causing others more pain than the pain he suffered.
As 90 percent of the film's story is told through song, Depp and the rest of the actors were put to the test musically and fared surprisingly well.
While Depp may never headline a Broadway production, his voice works perfectly well for the big screen adaptation. Carter and Rickman hold there own musically, especially on the duets with Depp. While a few of the more minor roles could have been better cast, Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) is brilliantly absurd as Signor Adolfo Pirelli, a competing barber with a horribly fake Italian accent.
Unlike many of the recent musicals to be adapted for the screen, "Todd" is a dark, sometimes exuberantly violent movie. When Todd slits the throats of his victims, blood does not just trickle out; it explodes in geysers covering clothes, windows and even the camera. The almost cartoonish effect works for "Todd" the way a similar effect worked in the "Kill Bill" movies.
With some outstanding, possibly award winning, performances and a musical score that had me singing after the credits rolled, "Todd" is a bloody good time.
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is rated R for graphic, bloody violence. It has a running time of 117 minutes.