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Johnny Depp Shows His Acting Range
on March 10, 2013
These two movies give Johnny Depp a great opportunity to show his acting range, and he doesn't disappoint.
"Sleepy Hollow" is perhaps the definitive film version of this well-known tale, though it is not for the faint-of-heart. It gets pretty gory, what with the Headless Horseman out and about his business. We tend to watch this film around Halloween...then see if we can get over its ghastly images by Xmas.
I saw "Sweeney Todd" on Broadway with Len Cariou, Angela Lansbury and Victor Garber many years ago. Cariou and Lansbury were spectacular. Garber, not so much - Sondheim's music for the male ingenue role is pretty ungracious, and neither Garber nor Jamie Campbell Bower in this film version has any success negotiating the vocal writing.
Depp's film Sweeney is a great deal more-frightening and disturbed than what I saw on B'way. That's possible in large part because he doesn't have to project his singing voice and stage persona into a live theatrical space (truth is Depp's singing voice wouldn't project well into the open space of a typical B'way theater without major amplification). That makes for a more-intimate, more-human portrayal, and it's fairly disturbing. The rest of the cast is good as well.
Both films were directed by Tim Burton who seems to get the best out of Depp. The "By The Sea" sequence in Sweeney is particularly touching in fleshing out the human sides of Todd and Mrs Lovett that might have been in a way that just isn't possible in the staged version.
If you want to enjoy Sweeney as a disturbed horror flick, get this version. If your main interest is hearing the music, get the 1982 "Tribute" version with Lansbury and George Hearn.
Recommended (the price is certainly right - I paid only $10.86 with tax for both movies!), but not for the squeamish.