Sweeney Todd and the Spiral of Violence

By Gareth Higgins 01-17-2008

Tim Burton's striking and gruesome film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical 'Sweeney Todd' made me feel alternately impressed by Johnny Depp's singing talent and wince at the violence. The story of a 19th century barber who avenges the loss of his wife and daughter by providing the closest shave ever to a litany of customers including the judge who caused his pain left me preoccupied by thoughts closer to home.

If the film is trying to make a serious point, it is that Sweeney's spiral of violence never ends. The previous night I had attended a meeting of the Consultative Group on the Past

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