Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2007

Critics score:
86 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Director Tim Burton has found the right look and, more crucially, the right scale for his film version of the grandiose 1979 Broadway musical thriller. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It's as if Burton was born to direct it. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: It's strangely beautiful and beautifully strange, with horrific subject matter that produces plenty of wicked humor and characters who initially seem ghoulish but ultimately reveal themselves as sympathetic and deeply sad. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Well-crafted if relatively impersonal. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: An elegant horror film that takes pleasure in its own theatricality, gives pleasure with caustic wit, trusts the power of Stephen Sondheim's score and exults in flights of fancy that only a movie can provide. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: Burton brings his signature visual style, and a pair of stock players for his stars, into this film adaptation, but he wisely follows Sondheim's lead, letting the music and spirit of the original piece show the way. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Dismal sets, cartoonish gore and Johnny Depp singing -- what's so appealing about that? Just about everything, actually. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A conceptual masterstroke. Sweeney always wanted to be a revenger's tragedy to make us recoil in fright. Now it is. Merry Christmas. Read more

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: Tim Burton's scaled-down adaptation chooses style over substance. The result, however, is still a pretty enjoyable film. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: A considerable achievement even if, on balance, it's more of a Tim Burton phantasmagoria than a Sondheim fantasia. Read more

Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post: No sentiment goes unbloodied in [Burton's] exuberantly dark Sweeney Todd. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: A cheeky, good-looking splatter fest that humorlessly shoves the grimness of Stephen Sondheim's stage musical in the viewer's face. The result: ugh. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Burton has an affinity for the mayhem's Grand Guignol setting, of course. But more valuably, he has a unique collaborative relationship with his longtime leading man. Read more

John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press: One of the most memorable films of the year. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Scissorhands was bright with eye-popping pastels that took on a sordid sheen; Sweeney has no such subtext: it's black, black, and gray, except when the screen floods blood red Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: It breathes new life into the genre by dousing it in buckets of blood. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: Abetted by Wolski's swooping, receding camera and Jonathan Tunick's propulsive orchestrations, Burton makes this as fluid and dynamic as any screen ride this year, musical or otherwise. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: The performances are pitched at just the right scale: theatrically exaggerated but untainted by "Broadway" bombast. Who knew Burton would have such an uncanny feel for how to film a musical? Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: How do you rescue the hell brew from absurdity? Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Tim Burton's film of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is spellbinding. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR.org: The movie may substitute Grand Guignol for laughs at times, but it's spectacularly stylized -- each throat-slashing exceptional -- persuasively sung, and imaginatively adapted for the screen. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Depp may not be a trained singer, but his voice is more than passable, and his presence -- his Sweeney is Edward Scissorhands gone bad -- is perfect. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: Tell me, is it good? Sir, it's too good at least. It's mighty entertainment that makes you feel sorry for the poor saps in the next theater at the multiplex. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: It is distinguished, hypnotic, brilliantly executed and positively electrifying. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A striking if stomach-turning big-screen treatment. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: [Sweeney Todd] is a wonder to behold, but only those with Burton's acquired tastes would want to sample a pie overstuffed with such joylessness. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: In the end, the real problem with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is that he's not as bloody fun as he should be. Read more

Lisa Bornstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News: The film benefits from Burton's consistency of vision. Swooping camera work and a sense of really discomfiting fantasy do the groundwork. When characters break into song, it fits in the world Burton has built. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: It combines some of Tim Burton's favorite elements: The fantastic, the ghoulish, the bizarre, the unspeakable, the romantic and in Johnny Depp, he has an actor he has worked with since Edward Scissorhands and finds a perfect instrument. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: This Sweeney Todd is all subtext and no substance. It starts off large and swaggering but doesn't know where to turn next: Burton seems fixated on serving up an event, to the extent that he neglects to dig into the story. Read more

Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle: Stylized but spasmodic, this Sweeney seems more interested in distancing than captivating an audience. Read more

June Thomas, Slate: Burton's overall restraint is a welcome surprise. Shorn of his usual camp trappings, the director evokes a sadness beneath every uneasy smile he draws from the audience. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: By all means go, and be prepared for a holiday musical like no other. Read more

Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: As unsettling as it is riveting. Even Sondheim aficionados will see the story with fresh eyes, unless those eyes are covered. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Sondheim's original musical was already a mad synthesis of Jacobean shock, Brechtian irony and Dickensian pathos -- to which Burton's lush visuals add another layer of aesthetic distance. The overall effect is somewhere between melodrama and camp. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: It's easily Burton's best since, well, ever. Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: A thoughtful, sincere and moving film, buttressed by a fine, central performance by an actor at the top of his form. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: This is grand-scale studio-work at its most beguiling. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: This is grand-scale studio-work at its most beguiling. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Mesmerizing and highly entertaining. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: This represents one happy instance of a film made by a director without stage experience that genuinely serves the intentions of the original piece. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: As much as he's a filmmaker, Burton is also a graphic artist in the tradition of Charles Addams and Edward Gorey -- and here he's successfully incorporated Sweeney Todd into his own distinctively dank and spidery gothic world. Read more

Peter Marks, Washington Post: Burton brings Sondheim's 1979 musical to the screen with a visual style informed by a truly cinematic feel for Grand Guignol. Read more