Even if musicals put you off, persevere for some minutes…this movie will hook you like no other. The medley of dialogues, colours both of which get darker and darker as the movie progresses grabs and absorbs you so much so that by the time the climax happens, you feel exhausted and drained of emotions.
What starts as a revenge story (similar in theme to Count of Monte Cristo) descend into the darkest depths of human nature and behaviour. Nobody escapes the brush with evil and there is no redemption. Consumed by feelings of revenge, murder almost becomes an end in itself and in the end, consumes the wielder of the scimitar of revenge. Jealousy, opportunism and a wanton disregard of life resides in the same breast as love and care, an indication of the impossible paradox of human heart.The distinction between evil and good at the start of the movie dissolves its barriers by the end.
All this while, the movie maintains its sombre and eerie atmosphere helped by the excellent makeup of the characters. The contrast of bright red blood spurting in fountains against the background of black and white is stark and attention arresting. Johnny Depp, as the wronged, brooding Benjamin Barker is the barber whose tools of trade becomes weapons of revenge, is fantastic and tugs at your heart both ways – you feel for him and are repelled by him at the same time.Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs Lovitt is terrifying in her sweet smiles that hide a terrible twisted nature beneath.
The dialogues are spoken in musical form and even though you might be uncomfortable with it in the initial part of the film, they fit in beautifully as the plot develops and at the end, what can be sung out cannot be spoken…
This movie is based on the urban myth that has appeared in many other plays and stories and it is a famous musical on Broadway as well…But to translate the Broadway play into movie format would not have been easy especially since movie musicals have tended to lean on the romantic side.
But Tim Burton provides a virtuoso performance with direction of this movie. This movie is a classic for all times as much as for the acting and direction as much for the timeless story of revenge gone wrong.