From Hell (11/11/12)

From HellMovie Two Hundred Fifty Nine

The hunt is on for an investigator to find the identity of Jack the Ripper in From Hell.

After the kidnapping of a prostitute in London, followed by the murder of another nearby, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) and her peers find themselves part of a large conspiracy and manhunt for the killer. Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp) becomes involved and through his opium binges, gets visions of the case. Several more prostitutes are brutally murdered and Abberline suspects the killer is medically trained, and involves a royal family physician, William Gull (Ian Holm). Soon, Abberline finds the hunt for Jack the Ripper is more intricate than he imagined.

While I’ve never read the graphic novel that From Hell is based on, I honestly can’t say that I would look forward to it. I was always put off by its length (nearly 575 pages), despite my interest in the Whitechapel murders and Jack the Ripper. From Hell is a serviceable movie, though it plods along for far too long in the middle and by the end, the pacing was ruined and I didn’t care so much about the outcome. Even though I had seen this film before, I had forgotten the finer details of the plot, including most of the ending.

One thing that really stood out in From Hell is the widely varying accents of the actors. While some of the actors are, in fact, British, Depp and Graham are obviously not and they both choose very awkward manners of speaking. While this isn’t the type of detail that would normally ruin a movie for me, I found myself disinterested in the plot and focusing on their forced accents. At least it made From Hell go by quicker.

Still, as far as Jack the Ripper movies go, From Hell is one of the better ones I’ve seen. While the Whitechapel murder cases are famously unsolved, From Hell does have a sound theory on who the killer was. It’s a theory that makes a lot of sense, but is brought down a bit by the rest of the movie. From Hell is definitely recommended for Jack the Ripper fans, but looking at just the movie, without the lore, it’s bland and uninteresting.

I give it 3 substituting absinthe for opium out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


33 responses to “From Hell (11/11/12)

  1. I watched this last year and have to say that I almost gave up with it half way through. Found it quite slow, fairly implausible despite being inspired by real events and wasn’t a fan of the costumes and styling either.

  2. The Alan Moore original is AWESOME. I have to say, I really really loved it. It is enormous, I know, but its soooo fascinating. Seriously. Its long, but it was really worth it. Great graphic novel, for real.

    The movie, not as great, but still very good I thought. Very entertaining.

  3. Yes, yes and yes, Andy. As soon as I saw the icon for this film on your blog I started to laugh. I’m a really big JD fan, but she is fricking awful. Her voice sounds utterly ludicrus. Seriously. I am really interested in accents and hers is just laughable. God, as an actor your voice is one of your most significant tools. There’s no excuse for her having the same sort of phoney cockney accent that Dick van Dyke barely got away with in Mary Poppins… yes, other than that the film is pretty mediocre. But I’m in complete agreement, the accents are way too distracting! Lol! Sorry, rant over! πŸ˜‰

    I just got your SW comment about being sick. Hope you’re feeling better now!

      • You’re not wrong… But Johnny Depp’s always a plus (for me anyway). Did you see ‘Rango’? The first half is so good… don’t care for the second half, but there’s great attention to detail in the first section. Love it! πŸ™‚

        Glad you’re on the mend.Take it easy. πŸ™‚

          • No. I can’t lie, I have to confess my ignorance here, I have no idea who Raoul Duke is, but I’m ready for my education! πŸ™‚

            I just loved the incredible attention to detail and how vivid everything was. I was disappointed at the arrival of Isla Fisher’s character purely because her voice/accent was quite hard to decipher.

          • Oh! Raoul Duke is the alter ego for Hunter Thompson and the main character from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, whom was also played by Depp. The scene with the big red convertible in the very beginning. I found several other sly nods to cinema that I can’t remember now.

          • Oh of course! I can’t believe I had forgotten that was his name! I showed this film at the end of summer term to my pupils at school (shh, don’t tell anyone) and loved trying to explain that to them! It’s brilliant, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ It’s those details that are just pure genius. πŸ™‚

    • The weird thing is that I don’t remember feeling that way about the film when it was released. Maybe it was me being younger or the film just fitting in more with what was coming out around the time. Either way, the film was unintentionally silly.

      • speaking of unintentionally silly – have you ever seen “rocky horror”? what do you think of the debate about whether they were really trying to be stupid silly or they were trying to make a serious musical/horror?

  4. Pingback: My November Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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