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In brief, this is another Tim Burton movie. This says it all, positively as well as negatively, for me. It has a fascinating and fantastic setting, beautiful production design, excellent hair, nice acting. It has Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter’s bust on display. That’s all quite nice to watch, pleasant to look at. But: never will he manage to surprise the audience by managing to get more out of the material than you would expect. Once you have explained that the film is about a barber who goes on a rampage and slits throats by the dozen just to get revenge on a city rather than an individual enemy, you have basically the whole film in your own imagination. No need to watch it, really, because the way Burton executes the principle ideas does not transcend the story beyond what can be told. Fascinating, in a way, and with unexpected ideas for resolution: maybe he should not direct his films, but rather develop them and then give them away? I don’t know. What he’s doing he is doing with great reliability, if it would only be a bit more original… The music is not very interesting, by the way.
A.O. Scott of the NYT praises the film’s savagery (by which I think he means the unrelentless efforts to cut throats, that were a bit tiring after the fifth or sixth one, I have to say). Roger Ebert also was quite charmed.

Ms Zacharek of Salon.com is more on my side: “the display [of violence and blood] is joyless without being particularly horrifying, either — there’s something perfunctory and inconsequential about it”.

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