FROM HELL: DVD
London, 1888. A killer, dubbed Jack The Ripper after his modus operandi, has begun murdering prostitutes in Whitechapel, the slums of London's East End. Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp) of Scotland Yard is woken from a drug-induced stupor to head the investigation. Haunted by psychic visions of the killer, Abberline discovers a sinister web of social and political connections to the case that appear to reach the highest levels. As the murders continue he becomes romantically involved with Mary Kelly (Heather Graham), one of the girls whose life will be threatened by the insane Ripper.
Review by Louise Keller:
A superbly crafted, handsome psychological thriller, From Hell is a gripping tale of terror and conspiracy, whose lavish, moody production design is bewitching. In this retelling of Jack the Ripper's dark story, we are enveloped in a mood so intense that we can smell the stench, feel the terror. Trevor Jones' sweeping score and Martin Childs' sets are so extraordinarily detailed that as we are taken through the cobbled streets of East London in the late 19th century, we feel claustrophobic and unable to breathe. From the slums of the street to the starched white collars of the upper crust and the monarchy, this is a story of contrasts.
Johnny Depp could well belong to this era, and as Inspector Frederick Abberline, imparts enough intrigue to satisfy. Handsome and mysterious, Depp is perfectly cast, and while he looks dapper and elegant, his cockney accent gives his street smartness credibility. Like many of the characters, Abberline has a secret: when we first meet him, he is hallucinating from an opium trip, seeking clues about the shocking crimes he is investigating. But Abberline is not the only one afflicted with demons.
Life is tough on the streets and survival is an uphill battle. There are some graphically disturbing scenes, but it's hard to look away - so compelling is the tale. The relationship between the prostitutes is well canvassed, and the contrast between the two worlds of the upper and lower class chillingly portrayed. You will not forget Ian Holm as the Queen's physician, while Heather Graham is totally (surprisingly) credible as Mary. Psychologically stimulating, this is not for the faint hearted, and as the story crescendos to a shocking conclusion, we feel as though we have certainly had a glimpse from hell.
Published November 3, 2005
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FROM HELL: DVD (MA)
CAST: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Jason Flemyng and Robbie Coltrane
PRODUCER: Don Murphy, Jane Hamsher
DIRECTOR: Allen and Albert Hughes
SCRIPT: Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias (Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, novel)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Deming, ASC
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: n/a
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: October 28, 2005