Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Rated 4.0

In the 1890s, an escaped convict (Johnny Depp), seeking revenge on the judge who railroaded him (Alan Rickman), takes up a career as a serial killer, with his victims going into the meat pies of his landlady (Helena Bonham Carter). Director Tim Burton’s morbid imagination is a good match for Stephen Sondheim’s noir guignol operetta, and he sets it in a grimy, sepia-tone London splashed (literally) with occasional pools of red. Depp and Bonham Carter are more adventurous choices, but they carry off Sondheim’s difficult songs with aplomb. Broadway purists may quibble with how songs have been trimmed, shifted and eliminated—and with Burton and writer John Logan taking but scant interest in Sweeney’s daughter (Jayne Wisener) and her suitor (Jamie Campbell Bower)—but on the whole they won’t be disappointed.