Friday, 15 January 2016

Sweeney Todd (4½ Stars)

This is my second film for today starring Alan Rickman. In it he proves that he isn't just an actor, he can sing as well. That's not something that can be taken for granted. Have you ever heard Pierce Brosnan try to sing, for instance in "Mamma Mia"? It's embarrassing. Then there's Alyson Hannigan. When a musical episode was written for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" parts had to be re-written because she wasn't able to perform all her songs. I don't understand this, because the few lines she does sing in the broadcast episode are adequate. She's not as bad as Pierce Brosnan, and nowhere near as bad as Richard Gere.

Of course, Alan Rickman's singing is over-shadowed by Johnny Depp, who is a magnificent singer. If he had never become an actor he could have embarked on a singing career. Another first class singer is Anthony Head. Those are the only two actors I can think of who are excellent singers. Most others are okay, but they're not good enough to give up their acting.

I enjoy this musical, especially because of the dark humour, but it doesn't live up to other musicals in my collection. I prefer "Tommy", "The Wall" and "Evita".

Alan Rickman plays an evil character in the film, Judge Turpin. I've heard it said that only the best actors can play bad men. That's certainly the case here. It takes an actor of Alan Rickman's stature to portray the nuances of the evil judge. We almost feel sympathy for him, because however bad he is all he wants is to be loved. Almost. We still cheer when Johnny Depp slashes his throat.

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