From Hell

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Jack the Ripper, ‘nuf sed.

There are spoilers in this review but it’s not worth writing two, so if you really want to be surprised by the ending, watch the movie first.

OK, so it’s Jack the Ripper, which means that the viewer knows a whole lot about what is going to happen and who is going to get killed, and how. They do throw one twist in at the end that was kind of interesting, but not enough to make watching the whole movie worthwhile…and yet, Mr. Otter and I, despite heaping scorn on this dog, and saying we were going to turn it off, did sit through the whole thing…

This version is taken from a graphic novel, which itself subscribes to the theory that came out a few years ago that the reason for the Ripper killings was the Duke of Cumberland’s (Queen Vicky’s eldest) marriage to a prostitute, with witnesses of the same profession, and so the bride and witnesses had to be taken care of so that the marriage could be hushed up, and there are masonic connections that make the murders into ritual killings, and so on…

Well. Firstly, Johnny Depp, Serious Honey, is in this, which is why we watched it…I took Mr. Otter to see Pirates of the Caribbean and he was so impressed by Depp’s performance (as was I) that we wanted more of him, and I remembered that I had rented this movie from Netflix. But what role does the elegant Mr. Depp play? Surely not the Ripper himself? no, folks, he is (and I am not kidding here) a psychic opium-addict police inspector. Sigh. Need I say more?

They also throw everything they can think of into this to spice it up, and it gets pretty pretentious: the elephant man, lesbian relationships among the prostitutes, wierd camera angles, time lapse photography, and just a bunch of stuff that I can’t even remember that had us rolling our eyes at the filmmakers. Not to mention all the gore of the murders themselves… The whole psychic thing was a little outre as well, not very believeable…and I guessed who was doing the murders halfway through the movie, duh, not hard to figure that one out. For a Jack the Ripper movie, it was pretty dull.

Depp was excellent, of course, and Robbie Coltrane was very good as well, as the sergeant involved in the investigation…although they had more chemistry between them than between Depp and the love interest, Mary Kelly. Yes, of course Depp gets involved with one of the prostitutes…this is the ONLY interesting thing in the movie, since anyone who knows anything about Jack the Ripper knows that she got pretty well taken apart, the last victim before he disappeared…they get around this by having another girl who is staying with her killed in her place, which makes no sense, since up to that point, the killer was very careful to have the girls lured to him by someone who knew them and could identify them as the right girls. Not to mention the killers letting the child survive, hello, there’s a mistake for you…pretty unbelieveable.

And of course, everyone was too clean, too well fed, had good teeth, thick hair, good eyesight, the streets were clean, etc. etc. etc. They tried to put a little bit of period detail in, but it wasn’t very convincing…even the opium den looked like a new age bookshop.

Rent it if you are a serious Depp fan, otherwise don’t bother.

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