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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.09%
Worth A Look: 33.33%
Just Average37.61%
Pretty Crappy: 7.69%
Sucks: 4.27%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings

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From Hell
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by Dust For Eyes

4 stars

Were the Jack The Ripper murders the greatest coverup of the 19th Century? From Hell takes a stylish look at the story of one of the world’s first pop killers.

Tabloid stars are nothing new. They are as old as the printing press. The battle between real journalism and populism has been always there. Citizen Kane was inspired by the life of the tabloid mogul William Hearst.

Only the standards of how low the press would go to cause a sensation have changed over the years. Nowadays that stooping has reached the impossibly bizarre with headlines like, ‘MAN EATS OWN HEAD,’ ‘ROYAL COVERUP OVER WOMAN’S NOSE BEING KIDNAPPED BY MARTIAN POT SMOKING COMMUNIST FOOTBALL HOOLIGAN HOT LESBIAN SEX ROMPING CONSERVATIVE POLITICIANS’ or ‘ELVIS FOUND TO BE DEAD AFTERALL.’

Back in 1888 when a series of particularly grisly murders of five prostitutes in Whitechapel, London, the sensation and frenzy in the tabloid press was rivalling the frenzy of the attacks themselves. The fevered fury included letters written to the press by people claiming to be the killer. Most - if not all - were fake, but one particular writer signed himself as Jack the Ripper with the address, From Hell.

Depp plays Inspector Abberline who is put in charge of investigating the murder of a Mary Anne ‘Polly’ Nichols in Whitechapel. An East End native, he is subject to visions that are probably more to do with his opium and Absinthe habit rather than any sixth sense. Along with his sidekick Sgt. Godley (Coltrane) he gets to know the street workers of the area including Mary (Graham).

To find out what the killer may be like, Abberline consults the Physician Ordinary
to the Crown, Dr. Sir William Gull (Holm), who had named Anorexia, while being supervised by Abberline’s superior, Sir Charles Warren (Richardson).

There are all sort of theories of whom may have been Jack the Ripper. This film, based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore, went for the most sensational of those theories. A theory that the real Abberline seemed to favour though he would take the full knowledge of his version of the truth to the grave. It’s a theory that well suits the facts and makes for the most interesting and captivating story.

Depp’s turn at Abberline is a kind of cross between Sherlock Holmes, someone from The Bill and er, Colombo. If you're not sold on Johnny Depp (he was fun in Sleepy Hollow,) then you might be wary of him and his East Ender accent. Depp is solid without being spectacular in playing a role of a man who in real life was much older.

Coltrane, Holm (who replaced the then ailing Nigel Hawthorne) and Richardson are dependable stalwarts who will master anything that’s called of them. They are as good as ever with Richardson in this authoritative roll again reminding of his Francis ‘FU’ Urquhart role from the House Of Cards trilogy.

Of the girls, Graham is a bit wooden and tries to be too pretty (even though the real Mary Kelly did have a reputation of rather striking beauty) and is rather upstaged by Lynch who again greatly impresses as Liz.

Being based on a graphic novel (comic, whatever) the stylised darkness and overall sense of coolness that is a feature of comics is also present in the film. It takes pains to show us what it was like to be a working girl during those times. Yet things are given a tweak to make it a bit more variegated. Mary’s clothes, hair and eyes for instance are all vivid in their colours.

As Quentin Tarantino has pointed out, the world is not divided by race, it’s divided by economics. So it should come as no surprise that the Hughes Brothers’ interest in black American ghetto life in Menace II Society should then drift to the London ghetto of the 1880s.

The brothers do a worthy job in controlling a complex script. They have garnered good performances out of most of the actors and keep the pace of the film just right. The dark tone, and gruesome nature of the murders is thoughtfully directed without knifing things into the audience’s head.

The Hughes Brothers show us that life in the ghetto, the sensation that can quickly whip up over incidents, and the efforts to hide them are universal across, peoples, places and time. A classy, entertaining and interesting interpretation of the Ripper murders.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4631&reviewer=166
originally posted: 02/07/02 21:04:20
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell good looking but a bullshit interpretation of the ripper legend they never knew who he was 2 stars
12/04/11 Pamela WhiteGreat adaptation of the Ripper story 4 stars
8/16/10 R.W. Welch Another interpolation of the Ripper mystery, but no more convincing than all the others. 3 stars
8/29/09 CTT Rather blah and familiar 3 stars
1/21/09 Psychotic angel Flawed, it has good Ripper atmosphere, but based on Alan Moore´s comic. 4 stars
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
1/25/07 del Good-looking, but a storyline that drags badly. Rent "Murder by Decree" instead. 3 stars
1/24/07 Ole Man Bourbon Very little to this movie. 3 stars
5/07/06 chienne Where was Walter Sickert in all this? Great film - superbly done. 5 stars
4/17/06 john bale The lurid colour rather defeats the gothic horror of the Ripper's slayings. 4 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Satisfyingly grisly and engrossing. Graham is wooden, Depp odd as ever... 4 stars
1/03/06 CrowTRobot Came so close to being great at times, but in the end missed the mark. A shame. 3 stars
8/08/05 Sylvanthunder Quite a good movie ,who cares about the cockney accent, nobody but the British! 5 stars
5/12/05 Indrid Cold Silly and MTVish, but decent entertainment nonetheless. 3 stars
2/06/05 John Bale Inept version of The Ripper, Depp miscast, whole thing looks like an overlit TV Commercial 3 stars
8/01/04 Raf Milis This movie is really creepy, Depp is awesome, but so is the whole setting...Great job!! 5 stars
1/21/04 American Slasher Goddess Not the best Jack the Ripper movie ever made, but still very good. 4 stars
12/13/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) A step down from the Hughes brothers. Depp is OK. No good at being scary. 2 stars
12/05/03 john a great Jack the Ripper film - the atomsphere is truly creepy - Depp is great! first rate 5 stars
10/19/03 Ingo Very good adaptation. 4 stars
9/11/03 KING EDWARD anyone who dosen't agree with the great w. gull should be killed like a whitechapel WHORE. 5 stars
7/12/03 George Jung A great movie. Jack Sommersby is queer. Super queer. 5 stars
5/03/03 sleepy learned how to smoke opium. 5 stars
4/17/03 Shadaan Felfeli well made - definately worth the admission ticket 4 stars
11/11/02 Monster W. Kung Dull, dull, dull. 2 stars
9/26/02 John McNew Atmospheric and interesting, but its numerous attempts to be scary are simply unsuccessful. 3 stars
9/01/02 hum non involving 2 stars
9/01/02 y2mckay Depp and Graham have lame accents. Tries to put every ripper theory into one story & fails 3 stars
8/25/02 Jamal First - rate atmospheric thriller 5 stars
8/13/02 Bryan Brooks Grotesque and pointless. 2 stars
7/10/02 James the worst piece of shit 1 stars
7/03/02 KMG There was something about the atmosphere that was missing 4 stars
6/23/02 Baal Don't be fooled - it's awesome. Great atmosphere, great story, great actors. Loved it! 5 stars
6/09/02 davey mac not worth my time or the $4.60 it cost me to rent it!!! 2 stars
5/28/02 Kyle Jesus Christ... you people are fucking insane... I fell asleep during this! 1 stars
5/27/02 Amy Too typical horror movie-ish, but great cinematography 4 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Good story done poorly....turned into a slasher movie making it lose its reality 3 stars
5/18/02 The Conscience Objector Less Jack, More Ripper 3 stars
5/15/02 spyguy2 Depp smokes hash and drinks absinthe, Graham is the worlds prettiest hooker, blah blah blah 3 stars
5/15/02 Butterbean Shot brilliantly.Great theory on the murders.Could have done w/o the half-assed romance. 3 stars
4/15/02 Mark Hortop Great movie with a dark and disturbing psychological edge. Depp and Holm shine. 5 stars
4/02/02 CAT Movie was ok but it was lacking in areas like plot 3 stars
2/27/02 Alan Smithee A complete mess......and Ms. Graham doesn't get naked either. 1 stars
2/21/02 Jimbo only average. that old mason stuff doesn't click anymore 3 stars
2/15/02 Vincent Kennedy What a bleak movie ! ! Warning, Go in depressed, come out suicidal 3 stars
2/14/02 Matthew Smith an ugly, gruesome and uncomfortable experience 3 stars
2/10/02 cookie Depp's bit character talent is wasted on this film. The cause: bad direction+lacking script 3 stars
12/18/01 Monya_t Great Gothic-Thriller..and, J. Depp is FIIIIIINNNNNNEEEEEEE! 5 stars
11/23/01 Axe Murderer good movie...one of the years best releases 5 stars
11/17/01 malcolm depp being in a film is starting to be good enough for me to give any film a shot. 3 stars
11/17/01 brent decent, but not exciting. 3 stars
11/08/01 Darren Shea expertly directed, wonderfully atmospheric, good acting (even from Graham!) 5 stars
11/06/01 Daniel Esparza This a very good movie if you want to be frightened and experience a new type of movie. 5 stars
11/05/01 Bueller A would-be psycho-drama-thriller. Sadly, it's just an interesting twist on an old formula. 3 stars
11/05/01 puckfreak From hell indeed...visuals==great, story==lame & boring 2 stars
11/05/01 RazorDog Good story and visuals, but the ending was rather anticlimactic. 3 stars
11/05/01 Visions of dry,drawn out, and really lacking in some places, tried way too hard to be artsy. 3 stars
11/04/01 Bob Simply Stunning. Fun for all. 5 stars
11/03/01 Nausheen Dadabhoy Great acting, directing and story this film has it all! 5 stars
11/01/01 Gay Tooth Fairy Thought is was a waste of my time. Only my opinion ofcourse. 2 stars
10/29/01 Greg Nixon Great story, Heather Graham is good eye-candy but terrible actress, Depp is great as always 4 stars
10/29/01 John Entertaining, very dark, story could have done more. 3 stars
10/28/01 spaceworm Holm's final drool drop left over from ALIEN? 4 stars
10/26/01 TK Hagar His identity is obvious but still chilling. Depp is great as usual, movie is intelligent 5 stars
10/25/01 derek deems this film would have been much better if it had never reavealed the identity of the killer 2 stars
10/24/01 AARD7ARK uhm... lessee... "from hell" or "glitter"... hmmm..... 4 stars
10/23/01 Blaise Stylish, but too many hollywood liberties. Read the comic instad 3 stars
10/22/01 ZACHARY SMITH tho rollergirl was used effectively, i would have liked more backstory on the elephant man. 4 stars
10/21/01 cactus was this movie stolen from tim burton? 3 stars
10/21/01 Waylon Roundtree Heather Graham is the weak spot, but film is still great and atmospheric. 5 stars
10/19/01 TimmyJ Very stylish film, not for everyone but I liked it 4 stars
10/19/01 TimmyTomorrow By the end of the film, I felt like killing the directors. 1 stars
10/18/01 DRS The reviewers don´t know shit! 5 stars
10/17/01 iampower@pacbell.net Stylish,depressing, but better acted and more payoff than I was expecting! 4 stars
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  19-Oct-2001 (R)



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