Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Deacon Greg Reviews Sweeney Todd

After months of waiting and wondering, last night I finally got to see the movie version of "Sweeney Todd." I'd seen the stage production years ago, with Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, and knew to expect something different with Johnny Depp wielding the razor. It is different. Very different. It's a brooding, disturbing, urgent, ominous, grisly, sweeping "Sweeney."

And it's also something I never expected: heartbreaking.

It's a story of revenge, and like all of these kinds of tales, the moral is the same: revenge begets revenge. (Or, as "Othello" puts it, "Sin will pluck on sin.") The grudges we nurse can destroy us -- even more so, when we believe that settling those grudges will, in fact, redeem us. When Sweeney throws back his head and sings, "I will have salvation," he's not talking about going to heaven, but to hell. And hell consumes, almost literally, the second half of the story, with bodies being burned and chimneys belching black smoke and corpses piling up like the last scene of "Hamlet."
Definitely Deacon Greg should have been a movie reviewer. Read the rest for his thoughtful and compelling commentary. He sees below the surface just as we would want in any well told story. For those who are fans of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Steven Sondheim ... and well, horror-musicals (granted it is a small genre!) ... go read his review. (Cross-posted at Happy Catholic)

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