From Hell
Director: The Hughes Brothers
Cast: Ian Holm, Johnny Depp
Heather Graham, Robbie Coltrane.

At this point I would give you a synopsis of the plot, but I’m not going to here.  Simply put, this another film based on the Jack the Ripper murders.  It concentrates on the conspiracy theory that involves the Royal family. If you go along with it, cool. If not, that’s cool too.  Just don’t going saying that it is a ridiculous idea, because everyone’s opinion is valid with this mystery and it’s never going to be cleared up.

First up this is a period set, British based horror film, secondly it’s adapted from an acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.  Thirdly it’s based on the true story of Jack the Ripper.  Now  you can see that this is not the recipe for a good movie.  But surprise, surprise, we’ve got one.

Now everyone has their own opinion/idea of who (or what) Jack the Ripper was.  This is only one version of the events that took place.  This is not the last word, the final decree, the absolute end or case closed.  Just go and see a bunch of good actors, great period detail and directors on top of their game and enjoy the movie.  Johnny Depp is as good as always and his accent is great.  Robbie Coltrane is his reliable self and Heather Graham is always good to look at (ho hum!), if just a little too clean to be a London prozzie during the 1880’s.  The main accolade for acting goes to Ian Holm though; who is as distinguished and watch able as usual.

The Hughes Brothers (well known for Menace II Society and Dead Presidents) would seem like an odd choice for a period drama/horror piccie, but they have been making tales of urban angst and inner city malaise and when you think about it From Hell is no different.  The brothers should be applauded for not going down the MTV route and steeping it with fast cuts and swooping camera work (faves of mine, but it would have proved distracting).  There are a couple of “psychedelic moments” but you can forgive them for that.  Instead they have focused on the story and performances.  Even the killings are subtle, bloody, but not gratuitous, which would have been the easy option.

The only problem I have this movie is that all involved seemed to have one eye on the box office possibilities and the other on making  an art house horror film.  They tried to cover both bases and this may cause it to miss both instead.

Review By Martainn Russell.
© Owned Martainn Russell  24/04/02 17:15:09




One thought on “From Hell (2001)

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