Thursday, 5 May 2011

Best Actor 2007: Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Sweeney Todd formally known as Benjamin Barker in Sweeney Todd.

Sweeney Todd is a musical about a mad barber who murders people who come to his shop, and than his land lady bakes them into a pie. I am a bit mixed on this adaptation on one hand the music is good, but on the other hand some of the singing does not quite cut it, and frankly its tone should have included more dark humor as the stage version has.

Johnny Depp portrays Sweeney Todd in an extremely one note fashion, and that is all there is to it. He shows him to be constantly angry and depressed at the same time, who constantly as the look of revenge on his face at every moment in the film. He barely even takes this expression off when he is attempting to lure people into his barber's chair.

Now this is how they chose to portray Sweeney in this film, and that does I think contribute to the tone that I find a little lacking. The film decides to use Sweeney as always a constant overtly angry figure, or as a dead pan character in that he is just internally angry figure who almost completely ignores all others.

Depp technically does the anger and the depression well enough, but part of what Sweeney Todd usually is portrayed as is a gleeful villain, as well as being a depressed one. You can see this sort of portrayal by George Hearn in the filmed stage version, which I do think is better than Depp's because Hearn not only shows the anger and depression, but also does show that Todd still gets a kick out of what he is doing, and really enjoys his chance at revenge.

Now Depp does sing the part well enough, certianly he handles his end better than Helena Bonham who just simply does not have the vocal strength for her part. He performs the song as well, showing the anger, and depression once again as well as the insanity of the character well. I don't think this is a bad portrayal overall, I just wish they had done more with Sweeney overall, and made him more than just dark and brooding basically throughout the whole film.


dshultz said...

Viggo for the win.

dinasztie said...

Depp really overacts... always.

Sage Slowdive said...

HATE him.

Louis Morgan said...

Yeah I gathered that, I guess I overrate him a bit, by merely disliking him rather than hating him.