Talk about atmospheric, this film, set in the dark and dismal streets of the run down Whitechapel area of Victorian London, has hardly a well light scene in the whole of the running time. Gas lamp, candle light and dark shadows are the order of the day in this recreation of the Jack the Ripper story.
Johnny Depp plays Inspector Abberline, the very middle class policemen in charge of the investigation into the series of murders of local prostitutes in the area. Ably assisted by Sgt Godley (Robbie Coltrane) Abberline befriends Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) a beautiful red haired "unfortunate" whose small group of prostitute friends is slowly diminishing in numbers as the Ripper strikes again and again.
More of the plot I cannot give away without ruining some of the secrets but there's many a twist and turn in store for the viewer. Whether this is a truly accurate account of the Ripper tale I'm not sure, and I'm sure there are plenty of Ripper anoraks who'll be only too happy to condemn the film for inaccuracies.
But to judge the film only on its authenticity to the Ripper legend is to miss the main point. This is an extremely thrilling and distinctive film. As I mentioned before the settings in the back streets of Whitechapel are horrendous in their squalor and unpleasantness and extremely well crafted.
Depp plays his part with distinction and great feeling and as always Coltrane provides great support. Other players worthy of mention are Ian Holm and Ian Richardson who play the "pillars" of the upper classes with great skill.
To sum up, even though this film had its fair share of blood and gore and had me hiding behind the cushion on more than one occasion, I was riveted for the duration of the film and definitely enjoyed this period "slasher" movie!