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From Hell

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: From Hell

Starring: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham
Director: Allen Hughes
Rated: R
RunTime: 137 Minutes
Release Date: October 2001
Genres: Horror, Suspense

*Also starring: Ian Holm, Katrin Cartlidge, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Flemyng, Ian McNeice, Ian Richardson, Lesley Sharp, Annabelle Apsion

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
4.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review ---
5.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

"One day, men will look back and say, I gave birth to the twentieth century," Jack the Ripper brags in the opening credits. FROM HELL, directed by the Hughes Brothers, Albert and Allen Hughes, whose previous films (AMERICAN PIMP, DEAD PRESIDENTS and MENACE II SOCIETY) were light-years away from English costume dramas, offer us intriguing, if far fetched, answers to the questions of who Jack the Ripper was and why he mutilated all of those prostitutes

The movie is absolutely mesmerizing with the images equally gross and engrossing. Martin Childs's deliciously diabolical production design and Peter Deming's dramatic cinematography give the picture a stunning look that one hopes the Academy will remember when it comes time to vote. The London skyline lit with hellish colors as ominous clouds move overhead is the best of the movie's many memorable visuals.

The always amazing Johnny Depp plays the lead role of Inspector Frederick Abberline, a drug addict who likes a little poison in his brew to get that extra kick he needs to get his dreams in gear. His prescient nightmares, as well as his Sherlock Holmes detective skills, enable him to solve unsolvable crimes.

Heather Graham, plays Mary Kelly, the lady of the night to whom the inspector takes a shine. But, hey, she's Heather Graham, any man past puberty would go for her. In a profession in which the women look like scullery maids and mud wrestlers, Mary is the only one who looks like she just finished shooting a soap commercial. But you didn't really want to see a dirty looking Graham when you could see her in all her cream-skinned glory, did you? Mary looks to be on Jack's short list unless the inspector can stop him first.

Jack's crimes are so heinous and disgusting that even the coroner pukes, and frequently. Jack likes to slice up his victims quite professionally, taking various internal organs home for souvenirs. This leads the inspector to suspect someone other than a working class bloke, which draws scorn from his superior, Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren (Ian Richardson). "An educated man?" Sir Charles says, "That's preposterous!"

It was a time when the police didn't protect, and the doctors practiced quackery. One kindly, old surgeon, Sir William Gull (Ian Holm) comes to advise the inspector. When the surgeon worries that certain revelations may prove dangerous, the inspector reassures him, "I'm well past the point of safe return."

Robbie Coltrane ("Cracker") is excellent as the inspector's sergeant. Sometimes the case scares the sergeant, especially when he begins to sense where it is leading. "I don't know what you're thinking, and I don't care to know," he tells the inspector. Trust me, you're going to want to know. And you're going to be on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out all of the details, even though you'll quickly guess major parts of the mystery.

FROM HELL runs 2:01. It is rated R for "strong violence/gore, sexuality, language and drug content" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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