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Sweeny Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street – review


Well come to your exclusive customized DVD show. Please make yourself comfortable while I prepare the right ambiance for your today’s show which is… Uh but let me ask you one thing, Have you heard of Roman Polanski? If you have and have also watched his movies hen I must say, you do have a good taste. If you are keying in the name in Google Search, then also I must say, you do have good enough taste to take my advice seriously. And to prove my point I will be giving you a taste of his brilliance in my next DVD pick Rosemary’s Baby.

Alright! John CussacK starred in that much successful and hyped movie 2012. Would you like to watch another of his? A sweet poignant movie with lots of “feel good factor”? Well l I have lined one of his Martian Child in the coming days…

Confused on what’s going on? Well these were just teasers that you see before a movie starts… Yes we are trying to give you a total wholesome movie viewing experience but enough of teasing and before you switch windows and Audis, let me take you straight to our current show… which is Sweeny Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet street. – A unique movie with a smashing tag line- Never forget. Never forgive. (a tagline of a movie speaks volumes, isn’t it?).  With a stats that will simply blow your mind away: You don’t believe? I am quite willing to testify under oath and I will not waste a moment longer to testify it and about it.

I, Long Island Iced Tea of Ginger Chai hereby testify

That – this movie is a Tim Burton directed movie with Johnny Depp in the lead, a very successful combination. Precedents? Edward Scissorhands. Charlie and the chocolate factory.

That -It’s a musical. But you will need an ear for that kind of music.  More exactly a thriller horror musical drama whose DVD if you are getting in India will be a censored one to save us from the gore…probably. (Well hah! Kill Bill is gorier than this)

That -The script is simply engrossing with memorable quotes that will make you want to tweet or update in Facebook, an example of which is

There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit/ and it’s filled with people who are filled with shit/ and the vermin of the world inhabit it- but not for long! They all deserve to die! Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why: because in all of the whole human race, Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men and only two. There’s the one staying put in his proper place and the one with his foot in the other one’s face- Look at me, Mrs. Lovett, look at you! No, we all deserve to die! Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why: Because the lives of the wicked should be- Made brief! For the rest of us, death will be a relief- We all deserve to die.

(Please don’t attempt to update it in FB. Exceeds the max character limits! I tried last night)

That– The movie is a dark revenge story set in the desolate and gloomy backdrop of 19th century London as aptly quoted in the movie by the following lines

There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit/ And the vermin of the world inhabit it/ And its morals aren’t worth what a pig could spit/ And it goes by the name of London

That– The movie is based on the famous broadway musical of the same name ,about the tragic tale of a Honest simple Barber- Benjamin Barker who turns into Sweeny Todd the demon barber of Fleet Street

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. His skin was pale and his eye was odd. He shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again. He trod a path that few have trod, Did Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (again from the movie)

And with these lines the movie begins on a somber note- which also ends in an ironical and a tragic note.

That– Barber Benjamin Barker played by Johnny Depp, was a happy man living a simple and contented life with his pretty wife Lucy and daughter Joanna, but his world falls apart after Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman. Remember Prof Snape of Harry Potter) steps in and banishes him for a crime he hadn’t done so that no one comes in his way of possessing Lucy. The pathos of Barker’s life can be felt in the lines

There was a barber and his wife, and she was beautiful. A foolish barber and his wife. She was his reason and his life, And she was beautiful. And she was virtuous. And he was – Naive. There was another man who saw that she was beautiful, a pious vulture of the law, who, with a gesture of his claw removed the barber from his plate. Then there was nothing but to wait and she would fall, so soft, so young, so lost, and oh, so beautiful!

That – Barker returns from his exile only to be informed that his wife had poisoned herself with arsenic and that his daughter is in the possession of the Evil Judge Turpin. Consumed by rage and fueled by the insatiable desire for revenge he assumes the name of Sweeny Todd and collaborates with Mrs Lovett played by Helena Bonham Carter, a meat pie shop owner, to go on a carnage among the people of London, and the flesh of the dead ending in Mrs Lovett’s meatpies, The casual black humor of which, spills over in the following musical conversation between Mr Todd and Mrs. Lovett about the flavor of a meat pie.

Sweeney Todd:  What is that?
Nellie Lovett:  It’s priest. Have a little priest.
Sweeney Todd:  Is it really good?
Nellie Lovett: Sir, it’s too good, at least. Then again, they don’t commit sins of the flesh, so it’s pretty fresh.
Sweeney Todd: Awful lot of fat.
Nellie Lovett:  Only where it sat.
Sweeney Todd:  Haven’t you got… poet or something like that?
Nellie Lovett:  No, you see the trouble with poet is how you know its deceased… try the priest!

That– whole of the cast has done a superb job and one which I feel is difficult, as other than being an intense drama , it is also a musical where they cannot afford to miss a beat at any point literally. Each of the cast have given perfect musical renditions under the able direction of Tim Burton.( The songs begin to grow into you after watching the movie a couple of times and I was quite surprised to see, almost my whole family humming –there was a barber and his wife- eeps! God help me!)

That– It has won many awards and been nominated for Oscar in the Best actor category, not to mention winning the Golden Globe award for the same.

That– Depp Looks absolutely maniacally handsome in a filthy and dangerous way as Sweeny Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet street.

That -Helena Bonham Carter Has proved time and again that she is an actress of high caliber. You can add this one in her growing list of fine performances which includes Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter  etc.

That this movie is highly recommended to Johnny Depp fans  and especially who loved his combos with Tim Burton

That this movie is not recommended for those who swear by chocolate romances and are averse to watching gross macabre thrillers.

That the above contents are true to my best of knowledge and capabilities and that I have not been subjected under any duress or threats to write this.

Signed under oath on this day of eleventh of June, 2010,


Witnessed by

Chief Brewer of Ginger Chai

0 11 June, 2010 Movies June 11, 2010

About the author

She is a Doctor by profession , working in Delhi. Loves traveling, mind games and playing with words… And also the chief-co brewer of GingerChai. She is the chief brewer of some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Follow @manishalsam

View all articles by Mani Padma


  1. Pranjal

    sounds like an interesting movie- nice storyline and the fact that it is musical make it more compelling… and captivating review 😉

  2. Usha

    Johnny Depp + Time Burton + Helena Bonham Carter = MUST SEE!

    I saw this movie twice. There was not much gore. I thought the blood looked a little diluted. Unless you were talking about the meat pies; Mrs. Lovett’s rodent infested pies. lol..
    The songs were really good. Not bad, you have a mini musical going on there with your family. 😀

    PS: make sure they don’t make a pie outta you 😉


  3. Rumya

    Thanks for that wonderful review Mani Padma. I wanted to catch this movie when it hit the theaters but that didn’t happen. 😛

    After reading your review, the urge to catch this movie has been rekindled and this time I won’t let it burn out. For sure!!

    Double Thumbs Up for the line:
    “Depp Looks absolutely maniacally handsome in a filthy and dangerous way as Sweeny Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet street” 🙂

    Edward Scissorhands was my very first English Movie which I watched when I was so little that I couldn’t even say MOVIE. I have faint memories of JD playing that role and I have been smitten by this actor ever since!! 😀

  4. Mani padma

    @ Pranjal. Thanks! And you will enjoy the movie. I m sure of it. @usha ah! Jill sparrow! No doubt you are all charged up. 😀 @ Rumya I m glad you liked it. We think alike you know. If you are a Depp fan then am sure you will love his performance. 🙂

  5. Pooja

    This is one awesome movie.. At least I loved it.. And Johnny Depp :P!

    “There’s a hole in the world..” is a part of the soundtrack of the movie, and its called Epiphany.. I have it on my iPod.. Dunno what that says about me ;)..

    I would definitely recoomend it..
    Good review, Ginger Chai!

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