17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ripper is back
Jack the Ripper is an enduring tale and one that has been examined before in various film versions, so how does "From Hell" measure up. Pretty well to be honest. The film is an entertaining version of events in Whitechapel, although of course it is more fiction than fact. The theory about the Ripper's identity is by no means a new one, and most Ripperologists discount it...
Published on 22 Nov 2004 by Stracs
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars new twist, old tale
So, is the movie going world ready for yet another take on the Jack the Ripper story? On first impressions, the answer would probably be an emphatic yes. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore (y'know, when you look, its surprising how many movies are based on "comics for grown ups", Road to Perdition, V for Vendetta and so on and so forth,...
Published on 3 Dec 2006 by Mr. Rwj Nixon
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ripper is back,
This review is from: From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)Jack the Ripper is an enduring tale and one that has been examined before in various film versions, so how does "From Hell" measure up. Pretty well to be honest. The film is an entertaining version of events in Whitechapel, although of course it is more fiction than fact. The theory about the Ripper's identity is by no means a new one, and most Ripperologists discount it as being untrue. However, as a film it makes for a good entertaining premise.
Johnny Depp is good as Inspector Abberline, although his "Cockney" accent is pretty poor! I did not particularly like the reinvention of Abberline as an opium addict, but I suppose each of these films need some new, unique angle on an old tale and this certainly provides a different element to most versions. The mostly British cast puts in some strong performances, an really the only one who let down the side for me was Heather Graham, who was not bad but whose performance was a little lazy for me. And her accent was even worse than Depp's! Ian Holm and Robbie Coltrane are as excellent as ever, and it was their performances that I enjoyed the most.
The film is well made and the atmosphere is excellently built up throughout the film. It is one of those films where you notice something different almost every time you watch it and it takes a couple of watches to appreciate the story fully. Overall this is a good version of the Ripper tale, entertaining though historically inaccurate but, hey, its a film so they are entitled to some artistic licence. If you want to find out who the Ripper was though you will need to read the books, not watch this.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Katrin Cartlidge May 1961- September 2002,
This review is from: From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)There have been so many books, movies and TV shows about Jack The Ripper that you might think that the story had been done to death and that nobody would be interested anymore. However, The Hughes brothers "From Hell" proves that there will always be a demand for a quality production of a very grizzly true horror story.
Way back in the 19th century (in the fall of 1888 to be precise) one of the worlds first recorded serial killers brutally murdered five prostitutes (yes, only 5) bringing terror to London's east end slums. And whilst, in terms of numbers, modern serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer have been much more prolific, it seems that it is still Jack The Ripper's crimes that continue to still fascinate many people. Is it because of the brutal yet clinical way that the murders were carried out? Or is it because the case remains unsolved? Probably both but as The Hughes brothers, previously best known for the likes of Menace II Society, have set out to prove, that although long dead there are still plenty of 'worthy' suspects.
Based on the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell cartoon strip and using the very beautiful city of Prague to expertly recreate Victorian London, The Hughes Brothers' latest movie pitches the clairvoyant, opium partaking, Inspector Fred Abberline (an impressive Johnny Depp), aided by his assistant Peter Godley (the always excellent Robbie Coltrane) racing against time in search of history's most notorious murderer, in this very watchable and very enjoyable yarn. Adapted by screenwriters Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias from the previously mentioned Moore/Campbell source material, From Hell manages to draw everybody from Queen Victoria to Oscar Wilde and the Elephant Man into the plot of this movie, which far from detracting from the true history of the attacks, actually adds a little more depth and a little more zest to this period thriller. To The Hughes brothers credit, this is not just another typical cheap and tasteless Hollywood slasher movie but instead it presents us with the full squalor, poverty and hardship that existed at that time, with the prostitutes presented as poor unfortunate human beings struggling against abject poverty to survive and finding consolation in alcohol. From Hell also boasts excellent performances of depth and subtlety not just from the likes of Depp (complete with a creditable cockney accent), Coltrane (Harry Potter) and renowned British stage actor Sir Ian Holm (Lord of the Rings) but also notably from the likes of (despite a slightly ropey accent) Heather Graham, Lesley Sharp, Annabelle Apsion and the late Katrin Cartlidge (No Man's Land) as the prostitutes earning their living in the squalor that was London's east end.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed From Hell and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit more intelligent, well written and well acted, as an alternative to the traditional horror teen flicks which seem to dominate our cinemas on a weekly basis. Four stars ****.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Hell,
This review is from: From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)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.
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!
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever blend of fact and fiction,
By A Customer
This review is from: From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)This is without doubt the best Jack The Ripper movie that's been made yet. Having missed it during its cinema run but having heard a lot about the movie, I rented "From Hell" when it came out on DVD. I was disappointed with the rental version but only for one reason: none of the extras were present! So I took the plunge and bought the DVD 2-disc set. Prior to watching the movie, I knew very little about any of the details of the Whitechapel murders that took place in 1888 although of course - like everyone else - I'd heard of Jack The Ripper.
Seeing the movie prompted me to seek out more information about the Jack The Ripper case. I had a feeling, whilst watching the movie, that certain liberties had been taken - for dramatic effect - and I was proved right when I discovered some of the facts about the real case (such as Inspector Abberline being a lot older than Depp's characterisation and living well into his '80s!)
The film sets are stunning - a perfect recreation of the grimy, filthy East End of London in Victorian time. The extras on the 2nd disc reveal that the Hughes Brothers had initially planned to film in the streets of Prague in the Czech Republic but it was impractical so a 'replica' of Whitechapel 1888 was built from scratch! The murder sites are re-created with incredible accuracy. This project was undoubtedly a labour of love for the Hughes Brothers and it paid off handsomely.
The movie itself is brilliant. Quite simply put, it's one of the best films I've seen in the last couple of years. Now I'm quite squeamish but I managed to make it through to the end with hardly any head-turns. The ghastly acts of the Ripper are not shown to us in great detail and respect must go to the Hughes Brothers for not selling out and making this another gore-filled 'slasher' flick. The tension and the suspense is all there, underpinned by awesome orchestrated music from Trevor Jones. Depp is on form as usual (with a very convincing East End accent) but it's seasoned British veteran actor Ian Holm who arguably steals the film.
An under-rated gem of a movie which should be on any serious movie collector's shelf.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one, two, Jack's coming for you,
The film may not be factually correct but that doesn't matter, it's a film and a good one at that. As a stand-alone horror its fantastic and a very good mystery film. Johnny Depp is great as usual but the real star is Ian Holmes who is fantastic and captivating. The film will have you guessing and hopefully get people interested enough to read up on the case, but if your just looking for a good chilled out horror film this is as good as any and I would highly recommend it. It is scary and tense and it doesn't just focus on the Jack the ripper case, more of what was happening around the time as well, its great fun. Considering it was adapted from a graphic novel, you don't expect it to be factual but as an adaptation it is brilliant and very close to the novels, the prostitutes also provide some laughs.
I urge you to see it, especially at the price Amazon have on offer, don't expect anything greatly factual just something fun and stylish.
The 2 disc version has a great documentary but it is expensive, this is substantial especially if your just buying this for a horror film, the special features on the special features on the 2 disc edition focus on the jack the ripper case rather than the film, so make your decision, I feel its a good film and a bit of fun.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant portrayal of Jack The Ripper,
Johnny Depp plays Inspector Fred Abberline. Robbie Coltrane plays his friend, Sergeant Godley. Together they try to solve the murders that are occuring in the Whitechapel area of London. For the benefit of those who have absolutely no idea what the Jack the Ripper story entails, he prayed upon prostitutes in the area and slit their throats and mutilated their bodies.
Ian Holm is absolutely fantastic in this movie. He is everything that his character should be. There are many great performances throughout this film, too many to list individually. Those performances given by the women playing the prostitues are brilliant.
I watched this film in complete bliss, (as wrong as they may be considering the content!), and have struggled hard to find something wrong with it. The only thing I can come up with is Heather Graham's English accent, which seems to slip into the typical American trying to do a cockney accent and failing. But it isn't so bad that it spoilt the movie.
I would recommend this movie to any true film buff and just suggest that, if you are intrigued by the story of Jack the Ripper, you watch this with an open mind and try not to be too judgemental when it comes to the facts. This is after all just a movie and not a true life documentary.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars new twist, old tale,
Johnney Depp takes the role of Fred Aberline, an opium addicted Scotland Yard detective who uses his addiction to fuel his visions of crimes, allowing him to make amazing deductions and solve the unsolvable. Robbie Coltrane turns in an initially amusing turn as his partner Sgt Peter Goodley, a man who turns a blind eye to Depps dabbling, but knows that it will be the end of him. A further surprisingly stellar cast, including Ian Holm as Royal surgeon William Gull, Ian Richardson as Charles Warren, the then head of Scotland Yard and Aberlines superior, and Heather Graham as Marie Kelly (unfortunately hamstrung by a to say the least dubious cockney accent) give some weight to the film.
The plot follows the known facts of the case fairly closely, and throws in a few of the more celebrated conspiracy theories that surround Jack the Ripper just for good measure (those in the know will know what I am talking about, but to say to much would be to give things away). Almost all of the suspected protagonists are featured at one time or another, but you can't help but feel that this plethora of suspects is thrown in to disguise what is essentially an exercise in style over substance. Whilst the violence can be very bloody, it is only briefly glimpsed or merely inferred, but no matter which way you look at this film, it is merely treading old ground.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-made movie that is more fiction than fact,
This review is from: From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)As a motion picture, From Hell is quite good. Just don't look for any truths about Jack the Ripper to emerge from the movie. While it is based on the Whitechapel murders and does an adequate job presenting some factual information (such as the locations and conditions of the bodies), the premise is based on a thoroughly discredited and rather laughable theory; there is also much fiction in the relationships of the murder victims, and many important events and individuals are ignored altogether. The film does a decent job of depicting Whitechapel, but it never really comes close to portraying the true filth and miserable conditions of the real Whitechapel, nor does it succeed in revealing the humanity of the unfortunate victims. Certainly one pities the poor women who must engage in prostitution merely to survive, but the utter hopelessness and darkness of their world does not really manifest itself in the movie. The portrayals of the murders themselves are quite good and were clearly done with an eye toward accuracy. I was glad to see that no real attempt was made to show the true state of the final victim's body because nothing can possibly convey the utter horror of that scene. Johnny Depp is marvelous as Inspector Abberline; Heather Graham is a wonderful Mary Kelly, but her character never really came across as a down and out prostitute. The characters involved in the murders and conspiracy, whom I will not name for fear of giving something away, are also quite good. I can accept and even applaud the "solution" this movie portrays, as there are a couple of really ingenious aspects of the whole conspiracy, and I felt the ending was quite proper and touchingly subtle. Needless to say, this is a rather depressing story all the way around. There is not an overabundance of horror, as the real dirty work of the Ripper is never shown to the audience, so the squeamish can probably make it through until the end with a minimum of head turns.
As an armchair Ripperologist, I am compelled to state that the identify of the Ripper and the complex story surrounding the "solution" here are not at all historical. The movie makers took as their premise a thoroughly discredited story, and on top of this they added several completely original ideas. For example, Inspector Abberline is here portrayed as an opium addict who has visions of the Ripper murders. The victims supposedly know each other and are marked out for death for a quite specific reason. All of the juiciest Ripper gossip and wildest speculations are injected into this movie. For those with little knowledge of the Whitechapel murders, please understand that the murderer, whoever he was, was certainly not the culprit named in this movie. If you want to learn the history of these crimes, forget almost everything you see here. This movie is to be enjoyed as a dark, Gothic motion picture because that is all it is.
I must say I was disappointed by the bonus material on the accompanying disc. The documentary about Jack the Ripper is the worst such documentary I have ever seen. On the one hand, you have someone pointing an amateur camera over Donald Rumbelow's shoulder--often losing the focus as the camera zooms in and out--as he flips through pages of a book of Ripper-related drawings--the most exciting part of this segment is the moment when Rumbelow announces he has to cough and then does so. On the other hand, you have a fairly old interview of less than stellar quality with a man who asserts that the true facts are those that we see presented in the movie, which is simply untrue and has no evidence upon which to stand. I was most disappointed by the tour of the murder sites. Some of the actual murder locations still exist today, and there is in fact a tour offered of the murder sites in modern Whitechapel, but the "tour" on the DVD turns out to be a tour of the movie set; the tour guides are the two directors, who make a big joke out of the whole tour and murders. The deleted scenes are interesting, especially the alternate ending, but I rejoice that such scenes were all deleted because they would have potentially ruined the movie, in my opinion. Finally, there is an inane 9-minute documentary about absinthe--while Depp's Abberline consumed this dangerous drink as an aid for his visionary powers, absinthe has less than nothing to do with Jack the Ripper. I'm still giving this DVD four stars because I enjoyed the highly fictionalized movie, but the accompanying DVD really detracts from the overall package.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new angle to the Ripper,
The new angle here is how the film tells its story. The perspective is one from the streets, focusing on life in Whitechapel. Most of the beginning of the film is told from the prostitute's point of view, only later does Abberline come in and slowly take over the role as lead. That makes the film very evocative - another major strength. The atmosphere is so tense and eerie the whole way through, with only very little bright light (e.g. when Abberline and Mary Kelly meet during the day), most of the film being cast in shadows and dark red hues.
The theory itself is an interesting one (even if the Ripper turns out to be one of the usual suspects), certainly one that's hard to guess from the outset, even if you have dabbled in Ripperology.
What I also liked about the film (and I don't know to what extent this is taken from the graphic novel, not having read it) is that it also contains a story of impossible love before the backdrop of the murders, which gives the whole story and Depp's character (Inspector Abberline, played by Depp as always brilliantly) a depth and emotional power which would otherwise be missing.
A definite must have.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "..VERY COOL MOVIE..",
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From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  by A Hughes (DVD - 2002)