Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sweeney Todd

By the way, I saw Sweeney Todd last week with my parents and I have to wholeheartedly recommend it. Here's the deal. It's really, kind of, almost, off-putting. It's uncomfortable to watch. I never really settled down in my seat. But that's the way it should be. I mean, the protagonist is a sociopathic serial killer. Sure, he's driven to it, but it's not just a revenge story where killing the bad guy is enough. That's the end goal, but he wants to kill everyone on the way. The whole city is his oppressor. (Fittingly, the entire movie is almost in black and white -- ashy, washed out, clouded over, oppressively gray. The only color, really, is the blood. And boy, is there a lot of it.) Naturally, the movie should be sort of... hard to watch, a little nagging. You want Sweeney to "win" and kill the judge, but you also are totally frightened by him, and you can't help but judge him for what he is, and be repulsed by what he (and Mrs. Lovett) is doing. All the deaths in this film are a brilliant cross between completely cringeworthy (the bones crumpling on the ground, sounding far too realistic) and triumphantly thorough and awesome. I came out of the film feeling kind of, if you can believe it, neutral. Sort of paralyzed by shock and sorrow and the tragic version of that inevitability you feel while watching a Curb Your Enthusiasm where you know whatever is happening is going to backfire utterly. I guess that's normally what tragedy is, but I feel like it's been a while since a movie showed that to me... the man driving himself to ruin. Whatever it was, the last frame of the movie has been sticking with me ever since.

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