Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007, Tim Burton)

Holy Fucking Shit. Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I really want to go all fanboyish/Harry Knowles out right now. You have no idea. I will try to maintain whatever giddyness I may have right now and try to write down something at least half way intelligent.

I will start off by saying that I know the play. I am a GIGANTIC fan of the play. I saw it about 5 years ago and until a couple of months ago I still continues to rent it from my library and rewatching. I think I have now seen it close to 15 times. I simply love it and it is without a doubt my favorite musical ever (both film or stage). I own all the soundtracks and I even bought the lp as soon as I got my record player to start working. I am a big fanboy of the play. I'm not even ashamed to say that I know most of the lyrics by heart.

I have been following the film adaptation of it for a looooong time now. I remember when Sam Mendes was attached to direct with Hugh Jackman in the role. I remember about a year and a half ago just being left speechless when Tim Burton was announced to direct it with Depp set to star. I was left speechless not because I am a gigantic fan of Burton/Depp but because I have a big love/hate relationship with Burton and I really did not want to see him fuck up my beloved musical. I even cringed at the thought of Depp as Sweeney. It just didnt seem like a right choice at the time at all.

So, for the past year and about 3 months I have been following and anticipating this film like no other film before. Me and my friend Dan (over at The Public Enemy) would exchange links to latest spy set pictures and we would debate over little fanboyish things. Yet, we never bought into it. We both just did not want to see this film even come out half as good as it's source material. This film had to be either just as good or better in order for it to really deliver.

Anyways...I am now rambling and stretching this all out but this is only because I feel that this film at least deserves that from me.

In very,very,very simple words - this film turned out far from perfect. It turned out to be even better than perfect. I don't know if there is such a word for that but if any film deserves it, it's this one.

Burton has created his masterpiece. This is the film his career has been working up to and it is his best film to date and I wonder if he will ever be able to top it.

Burton has created a film that is pretty much a straight adaptation of the Broadway musical but he has injected it with a lot of personal touches and his own unique style to make it his own. The best thing is that he has done all of this with a lot of respect to the source material and it never seems out of tune at all. In fact, it is better than the Broadway version. He has really made it his own and as my friend Dan put it, he created a masterpiece from a masterpiece.

I am also not just saying this because I have fanboy blinders on. I'm not. I was actually on the opposite side. I was strict towards the film to the highest level going in even though I have heard nothing but amazing things from it. The film surpassed any levels that I had thought up in my head and made everything that felt old and familer to me seem new and fresh.

Burton is really at his best in every single possible way. His dark gothic/German experssionism? Check. His gorgeous moody lighting and cinematography? Check. His bight, playful, and colorful side? Check. His morbid sense of humor? Check. All of his trademarks are here but he reaches a level of command and perfection to them all that they all serve to paint a beautiful and masterful film.

I don't know what else I can praise about the film but I still feel that I am not praising it enough. I don't think I should even write about the stellar performances, singing, and songs since I feel that that's a given already.

I will however choose to write about what I consider to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in a film. I am not bullshitting at all when I say this too. The final shot that ends the film is the greatest thing Burton has ever done and will ever do. The mixture of beauty with such a brutal image is too beautiful, touching, and stunning for words. It will leave you in chills. This small moment is why I love cinema so much. It is able to achieve such a feeling inside that no other art form can do and this image was able to stir up that emotion in me.

Bravo, Tim Burton and crew. You have made a masterpiece and also what I consider to be the best film of the year as well as my favorite film of the year. Bravo.

- ****


MovieDan82 said...

I may see this again on Christmas Day.

My name is Ramses said...

Same here. My brother (who is a fan of the play) wants to go see it and hasnt found anyone who is up to the challenge of sitting through a horror musical.