From Hell

So I just watched From Hell on PPV and was wondering what others thought of it. A quick check of the reviews on the IMDB seems to indicate that viewers of this movie fall mostly into two categories: those who thought it was absolutely terrible, and those who thought it was brilliant. I count myself among the later. I have researched Jack the Ripper(Serial killers are a pet interest of mine) and realize that the theory put forth in this film has been largely discredited, but this isn’t JFK. I don’t think the film, or the graphic novel for that matter, is meant to convince people of its truthfulness. It’s meant to tell a compelling story, and I feel it does that quite well. The cinematography is nothing short of surreal, and Johnny Depp delivers yet another brilliant performance. As a fan(though not a believer) in conspiracy theories, it presents the freemasonry plot very believably. While a casual knowledge of the actual facts makes the conspiracy here seem rather far-fetched, suspension of disbelief makes for a compelling movie-watching experience. So, what did you, my esteemed colleagues, think of this film?

Put me in the former category. My sister and I watched it and both said “Well, it was shot beautifully…” and “It was long…”.

I just didn’t get the point of it. It wasn’t factual enough to be a pet-theory-JFK kind of thing. It wasn’t fictional enough to be truly fiction. There wasn’t enough romance to be a romantic kind of movie. I just didn’t know where the movie was heading with the whole thing.

It was long.

Great cinematography.

I didn’t think it was long, at least it wasn’t one of the MANY movies that I have actually looked at my watch during siad movie.

As for Johnny Depp, he wasn’t bad, but if he is such a fantabulously insanely great actor, how come he hasn’t gotten nominated for an Academy Award? And please spare me the bullshit about the Oscars being nothing more then a popularity contest, ‘cause if that were the case then Adam Sandler would have a fucking trophy case full of the lil’ naked dudes and I would be dead.

I’m halfway through it right now. The accents are great but keep slipping. Both Depp and Whatsherface from Lost in Space occasionally sound extremely posh - unless this raddled Victorian harlot reveals a secret past as a right proper lady, I shall be most displeased. This may all stem from an association with the kind of British actors who achieve success most easily in the States being those with the clear, proper theatrical tones of Gielgud and his pals. Katrin Cartlidge (who’s Dark Annie in From Hell) is left to play weirdos and scrub-outs, despite the fact that most people in the UK look and sound far more like her.

If you like Ms Cartlidge’s vibe, though, you might enjoy the work of other “people of accent” - Kathy Burke, Jane Horrocks, David Thewlis, Julie Walters. Not a cup of tea among them.

Personally, I really enjoyed it. I’ve always had a fascination with Saucy Jack, and From Hell ranks among one of the best cinematic interpretations of the Ripper’s story. Next to Time After Time (one of those great movies that no one has ever heard of) I might even go so far as to say it’s my favorite. It sure as hell beats that stuffy Michael Caine TV movie (which wasn’t half bad).

As for the cinematography: Loved it! The use of angles, lighting, color, close ups, all fantastic. However, it os an odd movie and I think you need to really like Jack the Ripper or Johnny Depp to completely appreciate this film. It sure wont be on my list of the all time best movies, but I really enjoyed watching it in the theaters, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing it on video at some point in the near future (unless I get a DVD player before then, in which case, I’ll be watching it on that).

As for Depp and the Academy: I thought he was nominated for Ed Wood, though I’m probably wrong. Regardless, he is a gifted actor, and I feel he’s worthy of a nomination, but I don’t know if I feel he deserves the little gold naked dude. I think too much of his own personality leaks out into his characters, and that is what is preventing him from a nomination. Not that he isn’t a great actor (watch Dead Man), because I love the guy. He’s one of those men that makes you wish you weren’t heterosexual.

But yes, I’m all with you on the Adam Sandler view. The day he wins an Academy Award is the day I give up screenwriting and find myself a new career, because I don’t want to work in an industry that considers him for the top award.

ps - the only major qualm I have with From Hell is Heather Ghram (sp?) playing Kelly. In actuality, she was the ugliest of the 5. That’s the one thing “historical” movies cannot get right. People back then just did not physically possess the (standard definition of) beauty that most of our actresses hold today. You ever see photographs of the women who worked as prostitutes in the 1800s? My horses are more appealing than they are.

I think Tim Burton made the same mistake with From Hell as he did with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow -

Both were mediocre movies with great sets and cinematography.

So far as I know, Tim Burton didn’t have anything to do with From Hell, did he? Isn’t it a Hughes brothers film?

Oh, that’s right, it was the Hughes Bros.


I agree that despite his emmense talent, Depp does put alot of his own personality into his roles. He seems to be best at avoiding this in biopics, which isn’t surprising when you read about how he immerses himself in the personality of the person he plays. just watch fear and loathing in las vegas and then watch an interview with Hunter Thompson. He has all of HST’s mannerism down completely. It’s almost scary.

I didn’t make it all the way through From Hell, as Heather Graham’s accent(s) were really bothering my girlfriend. She got into full MST3K mode saying “Ooh, now she’s cockney! Now she’s Irish! Now she’s upper class!” Then she delivered a line in a pure Milwaukee accent and my girlfriend said “and then let’s go see Pat at Summerfest!”*

After we got done laughing, the movie didn’t really have that much appeal.

However, I enjoyed Johnny Depp’s perfromance up till the point we stopped watching. I was afraid he was going to be playing the same character as he did in Sleepy Hollow, but he handled it quite well.
*Pat McCurdy, see: Summerfest is a music festival held in Milwaukee, where Pat usually plays almost continuously.

I liked it a lot…thought the theory of who Jack really was seemed to really make sense. I doubt there is much historical accuracy, but it certainly made for a tiddier ending than the OJ trial.

This movie…uhhhh…how many more times is this tired, old plotline going to be trotted out?
I’ve been “studying” Jack the Ripper since I was a schoolkid, and I can’t tell you how many times this “totally unsuspected person of upper-class background is actually the Ripper” storyline has been used. Please, give it a rest.

As for historical inaccuracy, I don’t know where to begin correcting the misconceptions put forth in this film. Here’s a few:

  1. Inspector Abberline was a married, middle-aged man of sober habits. Johnny Depp, while a fine actor, was not a part of the Metropolitan Police Force in 1888.

  2. There is no evidence whatsoever indicating that the Ripper’s victims knew each other. It’s highly doubtful that every East End prostitute knew every other prostitute working that section of the city. With a population close to 100,000 for that area alone, and a high pecentage of them being transients, this is extremely doubtful.

  3. Mary Kelly was killed!!! She was also not strictly Irish; the account she gave of herself to friends stated that while born in Limerick, she had grown up in a Welsh mining town.

  4. Dr. William Gull had suffered a debilitating stroke earlier that year. I seriously doubt a man recovering from such a trauma would be ‘out and about’, so to speak.

  5. The Freemasons, while a favorite target of conspiracy theorists, are in actuality a rather mundane organization whose main interests seem to lie in local politics and nepotism. While somewhat esoteric, and definitely a ‘good ol’ boy’ type of set-up, there is not now, nor has there ever been, any evidence which would indicate their involvement in any criminal activity.
    Feh. This movie…I spent most of it gritting my teeth.
    But I will say it was beautifully filmed, and Johnny Depp did a great job. The cinematography was beautiful, and I enjoyed the film’s aesthetic sense. But the plot and the glaring innacuracies really destroyed the movie for me.

He certainly deserves an Oscar more than Russell “foiting me way arahnd the world” Crowe.

He certainly deserves an Oscar more than Russell “foiting me way arahnd the world” Crowe.

He certainly deserves an Oscar more than Russell “foiting me way arahnd the world” Crowe.

I understand where you’re coming from (although I liked it), and the thing that really hampers the movie in comparison to the original graphic novel is that Alan Moore put a sizable section of end-notes in the book. So for most of the complaints you make he addresses why he did it that way, and he seemed to put a lot of effort into making sure of his point that it is a fictionalized account.

Personally, the thing that bugged me the most is that when I heard Robbie Coltrane was in it I thought he’d be playing Abberline, since Abberline in the book looks strikingly like Coltrane, and that Depp would play the psychic-to-the-Queen guy. Combining the two characters made the already goofy aspects of the book goofier in the film. And I could have done without the Abberline as opium addict part.