15 February 2008

Sweeney Todd (4/5)

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I went reluctantly last night because the wife wanted to catch it before it faded to DVD. After the first song (an overture from Depp and his young companion as they sail in to London), I was completely engaged. The music was outstanding. Melodies developed in unexpected ways, lyrics rolled with imperfect rhymes, harmonies were at times surprisingly dissonant and pregnant with Prokofiev, ABA repeats varied their themes to show the character development. Sondheim is king.

As amazing as the music was the metaphor. There was so much potential in the relationship of the barber (a man-in-the-iron-mask darkly rewritten), the emotionally damaged pie-maker who finds in him a stability of sorts, and the adopted street-urchin (the barber having killed his seedy boss). That triangle seemed to me a shorthand for every family dynamic. And the plight of the barber's teen daughter was grim grim and very Charles Dickens. I had a few minor issues with the denoument but overall outstanding. Go rent it!

[ posted by sstrader on 15 February 2008 at 7:14:16 PM in Cinema ]