Sweeney Todd

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Movie Info

The story of fictional18th Century serial killer Sweeny Todd has frightened theater-goers for over a century, and now the BBC brings this blood-soaked story to the small screen in a ghastly production starring Ray Winstone as the razor-wielding Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In addition to exploring the various heinous acts attributed to the London-based butcher, this production also takes a look back at the events that fueled Sweeny Todd's murderous rampage.

Cast

Ray Winstone
as Sweeney Todd
David Warner
as Sir John Fielding
Tom Hardy
as Matthew Payne
Paul Currier
as Thornhill
Roger Frost
as First Customer
Ben Walker
as Tobias
Essie Davis
as Mrs. Nellie Lovett
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Critic Reviews for Sweeney Todd

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Audience Reviews for Sweeney Todd

  • May 22, 2010
    Exactly how a wonderful story such as Sweeney Todd should be told. Everything about this production is head and shoulders above everything else. First up, we have the setting. This is truly a disgusting London, filled with shit and disease. Next we have Winstone, giving an astonishing performance. It shows how someone like Depp is a performer, but fails to attach himself to the emotional complexity of such a character. Winstone doesn't just decide that people are scum and start offing them. His first kill is a sudden and regrettable impulse. He even checks on the body later in the hopes that he isn't dead. Like so many real-life killers, Winstone's motivations come from a deep rooted psychological trauma. As he continues, the killing becomes the norm. It's his answer to vengeance, suspicion, and his way of attracting a woman. Davis is also brilliant as Lovett. For once this isn't some creepy madwoman, but a fragile and easily manipulated pawn. I can't speak highly enough of this film, or the way it demonstrates how stories from over a hundred years ago, can still be fresh and involving.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2009
    i prefer the jonny depp one at least the songs made it a bit more watchable but this is pretty boring
    Film C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2008
    An interesting version of the Classic tale, which has variations to it's later Musical adaption. Ray Winstone played the role well and gave authentic touch of London to the brutal Barber, a great role also, played by Essie Davis as Mrs. Lovett. The visually dark look of the film created the old Victorian London scene well. This is a really good dramatised version, which varies lots from the bigger, well known movie with Johnny Depp
    Lady D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 21, 2008
    <i>"Today I wish I'd lost my sense of smell as well as my sight."</i> <p> David Moore's 2006 BBC made-for-television version of <i>Sweeney Todd</i> is a creative re-imagining of the Broadway musical that was originally written by Stephen Sondheim. Moore's vision of the classic story eliminates the songs and the singing: this is not a musical, but instead a dead serious drama that's more based on the old urban legends in preference over Sondheim's musical. This film bears little relation to Tim Burton's lucrative cinematic musical released in 2007. In place of songs, there's dialogue that dives into characters relationships and motives behind their emotions. By all means, Burton's musical is the superior film - however this is a competently crafted television movie that showcases some extravagant visuals. With proficient direction and tight scripting, the film moves at lightning pace and is a remarkable interpretation. It's radically different to its supposed source material, in fact the only thing kept the same are some of the character names and part some concepts. Apart from that, the structure is dissimilar and the characters are vastly different. <i>Sweeney Todd</i> is an enthralling effort, especially considering the budget constraints and its nature as a television film. Aside from a few imperfect technical aspects, it's possible to look upon this interpretation as an official Hollywood production. Unfortunately the film will always be extremely overlooked due to Tim Burton's big-budget cinematic masterpiece that was soon to follow. The film is set in London at about 1765. Sweeney Todd (Winstone), understandably the film's protagonist, runs a barber shop in Fleet Street. Previously, Todd's childhood was crushed by injustice when he spent 20 years in gaol for a crime his father committed. It's interesting to note that, in the original musical, Todd was formerly known as Benjamin Barker. In a few brief dialogue scenes the characters hint that Todd's name is not his natural name; however his true name is never revealed in this version. Anyway, Todd lives a tranquil and lonely life making money from his flourishing business as a barber-come-surgeon. His reputation is renowned around London as nothing but satisfied customers leave his barber shop. But one night, Todd's services are being employed by a gaoler who too long has boasted about his appalling treatment of children. A former child prisoner himself, Todd's fury leads him to commit murder. Stunned at his actions, he quickly tries to hide the corpse. Soon he befriends pie maker Mrs. Lovett (Davis) who takes a warming to him. Todd soon purchases an establishment for Mrs. Lovett to utilise to set up her own pie business. Wanting nothing but the best for the lady, Todd begins slitting the throats of innocents and sending the meat to Mrs. Lovett for use in her pies (with Mrs. Lovett being none the wiser). Ray Winstone is a fine actor who convincingly pulls off the title role in this version of <i>Sweeney Todd</i>. His interpretation of the character is much less demonic, instead more sympathetic. His emotions come through impeccably, and it's shocking to witness the character slashing someone's throat in cold blood. Essie Davis is a very different Mrs. Lovett. Instead of a depressing widow with a pale appearance, she's a whore - finding pleasure in the arms of a new man almost everyday...while she still has a husband! The supporting cast are all admirable in their character executions. You won't find characters such as Judge Turpin, Beadle Bamford, Johanna, or even Lucy! Instead, this adaptation of <i>Sweeney Todd</i> relies on a mostly new slate of characters and different interactions. While many who are die-hard fans of Sondheim's musical may find this a preposterous re-imagining, it's possible to toss away all prior conceptions and be wholeheartedly engaged in a different set of events. With a modest budget and a skilled production team, <i>Sweeney Todd</i> is a remarkable version of Stephen Sondheim's musical. Like I previously stated, the filmmakers here opt to play out the events as a drama as opposed to a musical. I must say that the film works less due to being so radically different to the source material. It's a good film, but it's slightly underwhelming and I feel that some things could have been expanded. In 2007, Tim Burton made a cinematic musical of the story.
    Cal ( Super Reviewer

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