Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sweeney Todd - The Director's Cut|
Actor: Ray Winstone; David Warner; Essie Davis; Gabriel Spahiu; Anthony O'Donnell; Zoltan Butuc; Radu Andrei Micu; David Bradley (IV); David Foxxe; Roger Frost; Ingo Gottwald; Ben Walker (IX); Jessica Hooker; Tom Hardy; Ray Winstone; Paul Currier
Director: Dave Moore
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
TRYING TO CARVE OUT A QUIET LIFE FOR HIMSELF IN 18TH CENTURYLONDON, EXPERT BARBER & EX-CON SWEENEY TODD BEFRIENDS MRS LOVETT, A LUSTY YOUNG WOMAN WHO RUNS THE PIE SHOP NEXT DOOR.BUT WHEN CARVED-UP BODIES START TURNING UP -... more »
"The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
The Demon Barber
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
The British know how to make movies and even though "Sweeney Todd" will not appeal to everyone, it is an example of the sublime art of making a wonderful movie. The acting s brilliant, the plot is engaging and everything just works beautifully. Ray Winstone as Sweeney Todd gives an outstanding performance. His character is one of contradictions but his actions show that we are all capable of both acts of kindness as well as evil, depending upon the circumstances.
"Sweeney Todd" is macabre drama about a character known as "The Demon Barber of Fleet Street". Whether he ever lived is legend or urban myth--no one really knows. As Todd descended from man to monster, he did so sympathetically. In fact, I would even go so far to say as the audience identified with him. Once the killings began and Todd found a novel way to dispose of his victims, he was not yet completely evil. Granted, he ended the lives of many but he had a kind side as well. Mrs. Lovett, his accomplice in crime, was so mystified by the man that she ever questioned why her many lovers never came back to her.
What was missing from the movie was the fairytale quality of the story--it was just too real with very real characters. Some find it disturbing that our feelings turn to Sweeney rather than against him. But the story ropes you as is so characteristic of Victorian literature.
The London of the 18th century is a rotten and decaying city that has a terrible secret--Sweeney Todd. Sweeney is supposedly the best barber in London and people come and go and praise him. One day when a childhood memory triggers a reaction, he slits the throat of a client and dumps the body in the river. He continues living life as if nothing has happened but this soon becomes a pattern. A Mrs. Lovett catches his eye and they enter into a relationship and he helps her start a bakery near his barber shop. Todd, also, supplies her with meat but she does not know that it s the flesh of his ex-customers.
Whether or not this is true matters not. It's a great story, gruesome as it is. Bloody,yes but it is a beautiful production nevertheless.
Todd's customers did get the closest
shaves ever. Todd was the master of his craft which he learned in prison while serving 29 years for a murder committed by his father. Perhaps he should have learned a different trade instead.
Thoroughly enjoyable, "Sweeney Todd" could possibly join the ranks of other classic British films. The only thing that may hold it back is its gore.
Winstone shines, as usual.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 06/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sweeney Todd (Dave Moore, 2006)
Sometime in the past decade or so, Ray Winstone has quietly gone from being a stock heavy (for example, in 1997's brilliant heist flick Face) to being one of Britain's best, and most versatile, actors. Nowhere has he shown this more than in Dave Moore's striking adaptation of Sweeney Todd, with Winstone playing the title character. A number of film versions of this story that I've seen have been simplified, glossing over some of the darker elements of the story (which is an odd thing to say about a story whose central figure is a serial killer), but Moore (Wallis and Edward) revels in the stuff that's outside the realm of the accepted, and it shows.
In case you've been living in a cave the past few hundred years, Sweeney Todd is a delicate, uplifting love story involving the title character (Winstone), a London barber (remember that back in the day, barbers also performed surgery) and the woman down the street, Mrs. Lovett (Girl with a Pearl Earring's Essie Davis), a former prostitute who now runs a pie shop. The two form a symbiotic relationship; Lovett refers folks to Todd. Todd kills them, then returns the bodies to Lovett, who makes them into pies. Free meat! Bigger profits, and it's probably better than you'd get from your local Megacorp. Needless to say, the police are concerned about the large number of disappearances, and Mrs. Lovett's husband, a nasty brute of a man, is starting to get suspicious. Needless to say, the bodies keep piling up. Didn't I say it was uplifting?
The Sweeney Todd bio has been done about a thousand times on stage and screen, with varying degrees of effectiveness. This one is done very well indeed, especially for a TV movie. Moore refuses to pull any punches, keeping within the bounds of television appropriateness by implying, rather than showing, many if the nastier bits. Still, if you record this thinking you're getting the Tim Burton version, be aware that this one, while not explicit, is still not for the smaller kiddies. For everyone else, though, it's an effective, wonderfully-acted treatment of the subject, and it's well worth watching. *** ½
Excellent performance by Winstone...
inframan | the lower depths | 05/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By far the best I have ever seen him do, unusually subtle & restrained. In many scenes he bears an uncanny resemblance to Charles Laughton, a perfect touch for this part & a real improvement over doll-boy J. Depp.
The film itself is well-done, a somewhat different take, though it gets rather one-note-ish after a while. Still, a fascinating watch."
"Why? Because I Could...And Then I Couldn't Not..."
darklordzden | Australia | 02/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"London, The Eighteenth Century: Sweeney Todd (Ray Winstone) ekes out an existence as a surgeon barber on the streets of an overcrowded British Metropolis which has been transformed into a purgatory of poverty, deprivation, despair and feculence by the ceaseless, implacable forces of the industrial revolution. Todd himself is a lonely, reclusive man who is haunted by the indignities suffered during a twenty year tenure inside the city's notorious Newgate prison (after being wrongly convicted of a crime for which his ne'er-do-well father was actually responsible). One foggy evening, an abrasive jailer from the prison enters Todd's shop and, during the course of his shave, engages the fragile barber in a boastful conversation concerning the conditions inside the prison. In one climatic moment, twenty years of repressed rage explodes to the homicidal fore and Todd's straight-razor is put to devastating use. The jailer is Todd's first kill, but before his reign of terror is over, he will be very far from the last...
If you only watch one screen adaptation of the legend of "Sweeney Todd", eschew the rest - including the big budget musical directed by Tim Burton - and make it this television adaptation from 2006.
Because, pound for pound, it is the most profoundly disturbing, brilliantly acted and subtly rendered portrait of this mythical murderer to yet make it to the screen.
Ray Winstone is nothing short of a revelation as the morose, emotionally scarred child-man whose compulsive need to kill is driven as much by his own trauma and sense of existential emptiness as his sense of nihilism. And yet even in the depths of his homicidal impulses, Winstone manages to imbue the character with a profound sense of remorse, a touching innocence and even a twisted sense of morality. It's a magnificently nuanced performance which is underplayed to perfection by an actor generally not allowed to express such subtlety onscreen in his usual "tough guy" roles. Winstone is ably supported by a cast that includes the luminescent Essie Davis, veteran actor David Warner and "Mad-Max-In-Waiting" Tom Hardy who all perfectly portray the various innocents inadvertently drawn into (and transformed by) Todd's heinously magnetic sphere of influence.
The filth and poverty of Eighteenth century London is expertly rendered onscreen with Bucharest convincingly standing in for the city. One is almost overwhelmed by the stale scent of perfumed wigs, failure and grime which seems to permeate the film. The violence of Todd's murders are also convincingly, but not gratuitously, evoked - as are the more barbarous medical practices of the time (a scene in which a character has a Kidney Stone removed - sans anaesthetic - managed to make me wince despite the lack of any onscreen gore).
But what sets this adaptation apart from the rest is the realism with which the director treats his subject matter. Simply put, the only other film which has rendered such a hypnotically convincing and multifaceted vision of psychopathology is John MacNaughton's profoundly brilliant and deeply disturbing film Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer (20th Anniversary). Indeed, this vision of Sweeney Todd shares much in common with that film in terms of it's themes and it's examination of the motivations and existential ennui of its occasionally sympathetic, deranged protagonist: like Michael Rooker's "Henry", we can see how this character has been molded, even if we cannot stomach his murderous proclivities or really believe (just as he cannot believe) that there can ultimately be any kind of redemption for him.
There is still much conjecture over whether the character of Sweeney Todd, who was originally rendered in the 'Penny Dreadful', "The String Of Pearls", had his basis in the conduct of an actual man. Thanks to the Sondheim musical, the Burton film and over a century of mythology, the bombastic "Demon Barber Of Fleet Street" is the prevalent image of the strange character. But as Todd observes in the course of this film, "if there is hell, it is the one that we make for ourselves" and accordingly it would seem to follow that if there are demons, they are most certainly the ones with which we torture (and make of) ourselves.
Hauntingly good stuff. I recommend this adaptation over all of the others unreservedly.