Mankind's only alternative 20   SEP.   17  
Mankind's only alternative
Welcome
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Kino Korner March 21, 2008
 
Sweeney Todd: A Blood-Gurgling Opera
By Eileen Jones Browse author Email
 
1 more photos
 

I never saw Sweeney Todd on stage, because I never see anything on stage, because I hate the stage. Theater makes me ill, always has. All those actors, I mean, right in the same room with you, acting at you, projecting their trained voices, sweating through their stupid costumes—it’s horrible. Films were invented to put an end to all that.

But theatricality in film can be interesting, and the director of this film, Tim Burton, is Mr. Filmic Theatricality. Sweeney Todd is his meat, a musical with a lot of blood and violence and humor, a promising combination that doesn’t come along every day. In adapting it, Burton apparently insisted on upping the level of gore. His characters looks like animated flesh-dolls in a gloomy diorama, hacking away at each other. I always liked Burton. Admittedly, his bad movies are legion (Batman, Mars Attacks!, Big Fish, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). But his few good ones still stand up, attesting to the deathless hope of escaping conformist hell in America through passionate self-expression, usually represented by weird clothes and big tangled hair and idiosyncratic artistic pursuits. It’s a touching fantasy he can occasionally bring to life.

The good films, in case you were wondering, are Beetlejuice and Ed Wood. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure has its moments, too.

Burton movies often star Johnny Depp, and like many women, I’m all for the Depp. He’s generally seen prancing around in some ridiculous get-up in a movie that’s otherwise unwatchable (Benny and Joon, anyone?) but what the hell. The cheekbones alone are the stuff that dreams are made of.

This time out Depp is as lovely as ever in a fetching Victorian ensemble as Sweeney Todd, "the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," complete with Goth pancake make-up and a white skunk-streak in his hair. He sings a good deal, in his own voice, a pleasant light-baritone, and slits many throats, frequently at the same time. He croons his most romantic ballad to "My Friends," his nice, shiny, professionally-stropped razors. He’s supposed to be bent on revenge, see, after a corrupt judge (Alan Rickman) had him transported to Australia on a trumped-up charge in order to take possession of the barber’s beautiful blonde wife (Laura Michelle Kelly) and daughter (Jayne Wisener). That’s the back-story, shown in hazy golden flashback, but it doesn’t really matter. We just want to get to the killing.

There’s a lot of the killing too, with the melodic, mostly-sung score by Stephen Sondheim as high-toned accompaniment. Gaping wounds on full artistic display; gouts of blood spewing gorgeously; and plenty of time to admire what special effects can do with the insides of slashed human necks. It’s rare that entertainment with such a lofty pedigree also offers generous portions of things people actually like: revenge, violence and viscera, a protagonist we can root for, occasional humor, nice tunes. Is that so much to ask? A little sauce on the raw meat we crave? Shakespeare didn’t think so! (Unfortunately, that brings us back to the stage again.)

Considering the body count, the whole film is absurdly elegant. Burton was reportedly on a doomed quest for an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, and it shows. The art design/set decoration team, Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, won Oscars for their color-wheel knowledge: the best way to showcase blood red is to set it against a uniform blue-gray pall with touches of black and white. Classy! Plus there’s a line-up of fine expensive British hams—Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sasha Baron Cohen—to play the nasty villains taking their seats one by one in the fatal barber’s chair.

The chair itself is cleverly rigged to dump the bodies backwards through a trap door in the floor, down to the cellar to be ground up and cooked into meat pies. This is an added plus for "green" members of the audience, making the whole homicidal process seem efficient and environmentally sound. As the meat-pie-maker Mrs. Lovett says, "Waste not, want not."


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

Top Of The World Clubbin' : Moscow From The Shadows To The 21st Floor

Moscow Nitelife Roundup :

Serfin' USA: Duped Russkies :

Bleak House :
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru