Sweeney Todd’s Bleeding Heart Beats Itself

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I saw “Sweeney Todd” on my birthday with another December brithday gal, Liz Parker, who leads the Alton writing group and is the daughter of Bill Parker, who worked with my father as business agent for the union when my dad was the steward and one of the negotiators. Liz suggested we go to The Moolah Theatre and Lounge, the Riverfront Times’ choice for “Best Movie Theater in St. Louis.” And, why not? The Moolah isn’t a mulit-plex, it’s a mega-plex—in the old time grand style—and with real leather couches. They even named special drinks after Sweeney Todd. Very fun and very funny.

Were it not for the dark humor of “Sweeney Todd” with the stylized oceans of gore and gorgeously ghoulish cinematography, it would be just too grim to watch. Yet, here we see, through exaggeration and the ultimate extension of passionate logic, what happens when a heart is hurt and hardened…and yet…cannot quite extinguish the last bit of tenderness that would allow it rest.

I don’t think I’ve seen this much blood outside a war movie since “The Godfather.” Luckily, I let the music tell me when it’s best to close my eyes, so I only saw a fraction of drops of the many buckets spilled.

Johnny Depp’s lock of white hair streaking through the dishevelled blackness reminded me of Cruella De Vil in the original Disney “101 Dalmations” I saw as a child. (Come to think of it, killing all those puppies for her Dalmation fur coathas some analagous value to the meat pie murders.)

Depp is extraordinary as this edgy protaganist…neither hero nor villian, but powerful in his portrayal because still human. Spilling all the blood in the world cannot heal a human heart. “Never forget. Never forgive” is the marketing slogan for the film. We learn how this can twist against us…and there’s no way to tape up a slit neck of the person you love.

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