In both conception and execution, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the perfect marriage of artist and material. Burton’s cinematic adaptation of Steven Sondheim’s famously gruesome musical is coated in ghostly pale shades punctuated by flashes of rotting yellow-green, a Sleepy Hollow-ish pallor complemented by imaginatively morose set and costume design that help lend the gory story an atmosphere of tomblike ominousness. As the titular demon barber intent on wreaking vengeance on the London judge (Alan Rickman) who exiled him to far-off shores in order to steal his beautiful wife and daughter, Johnny Depp flashes a possessed glint in his eyes and sports a masculine version of the Bride of Frankenstein’s white line-streaked black ‘do. His Todd’s insane plot is facilitated by his murderous partner-in-crime Mrs. Lovett (a magnificent Helena Bonham Carter, looking like a living Quay Brothers doll), whose demented love for Todd is manifest in her use of his victims as ingredients for her shop’s meat pies. There’s almost nothing overtly wrong with Burton’s treatment, from the vocally limited Depp and Bonham Carter’s rock ‘n roll-style singing, to Sacha Baron Cohen’s amusingly over-the-top charlatan Signor Adolfo Pirelli, to its depiction of Todd’s perverse obsessiveness, to a descent-into-hell finale that’s truly grand (or Grand Guignol, as it were). Yet there’s nonetheless something missing from the film, its somewhat static staging of certain musical numbers – such as “A Little Priest,” in which Depp and Bonham Carter do little other than stand around and stare out the window – and the narrative’s general lack of action contributing to a mild torpor that prevents the proceedings from ever truly exploding with malevolent fervor. Proficient and estimable in almost every way, Sweeney Todd is deliriously bloody but never truly gets one’s blood pumping.