Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA/United Kingdom, 2007. DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, The Zanuck Company, Tim Burton Productions. Screenplay by John Logan, based on the musical book by Hugh Wheeler, adapted by Christopher Bond. Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski. Produced by John Logan, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Richard D. Zanuck. Music by Stephen Sondheim. Production Design by Dante Ferretti. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Chris Lebenzon. Academy Awards 2007. Golden Globe Awards 2007. Washington Film Critics Awards 2007.
Every note rings out loud and beautiful in this stunning achievement by Tim Burton, adapting Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical to the screen with great effect. Burton’s alter ego Johnny Depp plays the misanthropic barber who heartlessly slits the throats of all those who sit in his chair, bereft of human feeling since his wife and daughter were taken away from him years ago. He runs a successful business with the ghoulish woman (Helena Bonham Carter) who runs the bakery below him, her meat pies created from the cadavers he delivers to her basement. His goal, however, is to get the evil judge (Alan Rickman) responsible for his personal loss into his barber chair and eradicate his demons once and for all. Burton’s trademark visuals, beautiful nightmares that romanticize the Victorian London of classic horror tales, are a huge part of the pleasure here, but credit must be given to the full-blooded performances and especially the gorgeous orchestrations that really make Sondheim’s marvelous score shine. The violence will put a fair share of viewers off, but if you can stomach it you’re in for an unforgettable treat.