Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a movie based upon the musical by Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd. It is based on a legend that was the topic of Penny Dreadfuls (serial novels) in the late 1700s. Whether Sweeney Todd is urban legend or true man, the fact remains that the story is gruesome.
Johnny Depp is Benjamin Barker, a young man born to poor parents who leave this Earth early. Benjamin is sent to Newgate Prison for stealing when he is 14 years old. There he learns the tools of the barber trade from another inmate.
Next, we see Benjamin married with a baby. His life, while never perfect, is good until he is framed for a crime, sentenced and sent to a penal colony in Australia. While serving 15 years for a crime he did not commit, Benjamin changes to become Sweeney Todd, a man driven by the desire for revenge until it drives him insane.
He returns to London, looking for his wife and child, only to find that the judge who sentenced him to the penal colony had married his wife, now deceased, and raised his daughter as a stepchild. He visits his former landlady, Mrs. Lovett, who rents him the room where he lived with wife and daughter. Mrs. Lovett has also saved the razors with which Sweeney Todd makes his living as a barber.
When he opens his barber shop, next door to St. Dunstan's church, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who shaved the "heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again." The bodies begin to pile up in the catacombs and tunnels of St. Dunstan's, so Mrs. Lovett comes up with a unique use for the bodies. She makes pies, the "worst pies in London."
As Sweeney Todd sinks further into insanity, he exacts his revenge on the judge who sentenced him to the penal colony and others who have crossed him. Mrs. Lovett serves up the remnants of revenge until they are caught.
While musicals are not my favorite type of movies, I think I will have to see this one. Check out the trailer and other gruesome goodies. Click here to visit the official Sweeney Todd movie site or visit Sweeney Todd on MySpace.