Film Profile: From Hell - (2001)
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"Only the legend will survive."
- Director: Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Subtitled | Widescreen | Duration: 145 Mins
Given the intricacy of Alan Moore's graphic novel From Hell, it's no surprise that Menace II Society directors Allen and Albert Hughes have focused solely on the elements concerning Jack the Ripper for this celluloid adaptation of the book. After all, Victorian London's most infamous denizen continues to morbidly fascinate the serial killer-obsessed public, particularly as he was never caught. Despite the gruesome nature of the Ripper's crimes, the Hughes Brothers resist the temptation to produce merely a blood-drenched whodunnit; this is a meticulous, gripping chiller that captivates on many levels. On the one hand, it's painstakingly crafted social history that captures the grime, grit and prejudices of a thoroughly hypocritical era. On the other, it's a grisly and horribly believable tale of greed, revenge and lunacy in which gore is only part of the pervading horror. Ultimately, and refreshingly, the plot is strong enough to contextualise the violence. Combined with the hypnotic camerawork and inspired performances (particularly from Johnny Depp as the policeman on the trail of the Ripper and Ian Holm as respected physician Sir William Gull), this ensures that the movie is both visually and intellectually engaging. The one flaw is in the casting of Heather Graham as potential victim Mary Kelly, whose unblemished beauty and ever-changing accent strike the only hollow notes.
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