Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm
Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes
From Hell is the retelling of the Jack the Ripper
tale taken from the Alan Moore graphic novel by the same name.
Anyone who is familiar with the murders and the conspiracy
theories will immediatley know the violent backstory in which
Depp, a drug addicted police inspector, is thrown into. Using
his drug-induced visions, he seeks out Graham, a prostitute
and friend of the murder victims in hope of finding some reason
behind the string of serial murders.
While the story is told fairly straight-forwardly, it's shot
beautifully by the Hughes Brothers, who manage to create both
and dark and sinister environment, filming it with rich hues
and colors. Scenes of the skyline are often shot as dark silhouttes
with color-rich clouds. The citizenry are in character and
the costuming is well-done. The direction and pace of the
film is nicely handled and the acting all around is excellent.
The soundtrack aides well in creating a menacing and dark
environment. During scenes where Depp is having his drug-induced
visions, the pulse of sound can be felt through the floor
of the theatre.
The only real sore spot in the film is Heather Graham, who
acts well enough, but just looks too clean and pretty to be
a believable prostitute. Next to her friends (or co-workers),
she stands out like a sore thumb. Also, the love story between
Graham and Depp, while not overly played, seems rather tacked-on.
From Hell is an excellently done film. People familiar
with the story and historical events will know what's going
to happen, but the quality of the story and film on their
own does not diminish because of this. Anyone interested in
a well-played film not littered with cheesy horror-movie shlock
should look into this.