From Hell
Starring:
Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm
Directed By:
Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes
Grade
B+

From Hell is the retelling of the Jack the Ripper tale taken from the Alan Moore graphic novel by the same name. Anyone who is familiar with the murders and the conspiracy theories will immediatley know the violent backstory in which Depp, a drug addicted police inspector, is thrown into. Using his drug-induced visions, he seeks out Graham, a prostitute and friend of the murder victims in hope of finding some reason behind the string of serial murders.

While the story is told fairly straight-forwardly, it's shot beautifully by the Hughes Brothers, who manage to create both and dark and sinister environment, filming it with rich hues and colors. Scenes of the skyline are often shot as dark silhouttes with color-rich clouds. The citizenry are in character and the costuming is well-done. The direction and pace of the film is nicely handled and the acting all around is excellent. The soundtrack aides well in creating a menacing and dark environment. During scenes where Depp is having his drug-induced visions, the pulse of sound can be felt through the floor of the theatre.

The only real sore spot in the film is Heather Graham, who acts well enough, but just looks too clean and pretty to be a believable prostitute. Next to her friends (or co-workers), she stands out like a sore thumb. Also, the love story between Graham and Depp, while not overly played, seems rather tacked-on.

From Hell is an excellently done film. People familiar with the story and historical events will know what's going to happen, but the quality of the story and film on their own does not diminish because of this. Anyone interested in a well-played film not littered with cheesy horror-movie shlock should look into this.

- - Kinderfeld

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