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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (18)

PUBLISHED: 11:22 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:13 24 August 2010

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (18) www.sweeneytoddmovie.com This marvelously macabre sixth collaboration of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton will have fans singing its praises

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (18)

www.sweeneytoddmovie.com

This marvelously macabre sixth collaboration of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton will have fans singing its praises - and avoiding barbers for the rest of their lives.

Proving a dab hand at singing as much as acting, the ever reliable Depp delivers a grand performance as Benjamin Barker aka Sweeny Todd, the titular barber of the piece, wrongly imprisoned by the vindictive Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman).

After his release, he returns to a sooty Victorian London hungry for vengeance, his bloodlust further fuelled by the discovery that his

wife has been poisoned and his daughter held captive by Turpin.

Assuming the name of Sweeney Todd, the razor-wielding madman plots his revenge and joins forces with nefarious baker Mrs Lovett (a wickedly enjoyable Helena Bonham Carter). It's a mutually beneficial, albeit messy, partnership: he opens a barber's shop to hone his throat-slitting skills on his clients, while she disposes of the bodies in her famously unpopular meat pies.

But Sweeney won't be happy until his brand of brutal justice is served on Judge Turpin and he is reunited with his daughter.

With Burton's inimitable Gothic grandeur stamped all over it, this lush imagining of the Stephen Sondheim musical is quite unlike anything seen on the big screen before and arguably ranks among the best stage-to-screen adaptations ever filmed.

Awash in rivers of blood, gaping throats and other grisly goings-on , it isn't for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but Burton has lightened the darkness with lashings of black humour, stunning design and visuals, and a beautiful soundtrack that lovingly showcases Sondheim's haunting tunes.

And although musical haters may not relish the fact that 75 per cent of the dialogue is sung, they can take heart in the knowledge that Burton's first foray into the movie musical genre has more in common with a slasher flick than any show-stopping Broadway number.

It makes Little Shop Of Horrors look like a Disney cartoon - I defy anyone to watch this without wincing at least once when Todd's razor ruptures another artery, spurting blood like a burst water main.

At once beautiful and beastly, it's a treat you don't want to miss.

Damian Tully-Pointon

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