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From Hell (2001 movie)

A 2001 horror-mystery film directed by the Hughes Brothers and loosely based upon the graphic novel of the same name.

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But to lie in cold obstruction and to rot...

  • Nov 14, 2008
  • by
Aside from taking a fresh and unique approach to the old mysteries of Jack The Ripper, From Hell delivers a gracefully languid storyline peppered with brutal killings and interesting musings into an old fashioned culture.

Inspector Fred Abberline (Johnny Depp) has a unique gift, a psychic ability to see murders in his opium dreams. Because of this talent, he is assigned to the case of a brutally murdered prostitute along with his partner, Sergeant Peter Godley (Robbie Coltrane). His suspicions turn away from the local gang of pimps and thugs, and towards a more educated and upper-class perpetrator as more and more girls are methodically butchered.

Abberline wins the confidence of one of the slightly more refined prostitutes, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham), and uses her knowledge of the dead girls to uncover the unlikely murderer.

From Hell definitely has its faults, a sometimes weak script and a far-fetched assumption of the identity and background of Jack The Ripper, but makes up for those faults with its stunning visuals and moody atmosphere.
Using subtle photography rather than graphical violence in the murder scenes, it leaves a lingering taste in one's mouth that is nonetheless bloody and haunting.

Depp plays Abberline with brilliant panache, a man who still cares but is void of the usual emotional swamps most humans swim in, evident in the scene where the coroner is retching but Abberline coldly and methodically examines the mutilated corpse. I love cold characters. Heather Graham is a beautiful woman, but not a very good actress. However, her character of Mary Kelly is probably the best performance she had done, in spite of the weak accent attempted.

There are also interesting notes to study while taking in the lush photography, the realism of the opium dens, the early lobotomies performed, a brief presentation of the Elephant Man, along with the cultural notions of the 1880's that well-bred and moneyed people simply could not be capable of such types of brutality.

The time frame is well done and interesting in that it also exposes the religious persecution of certain sects, not to mention total disregard for the prostitutes and those poor souls considered to be beneath the genteel societies notice or care. One's birth class stands out far above their deeds, and propriety rules the day. And ruling the propriety are a secret sect of Freemasons, answerable only to themselves and powerful enough to stop Abberline's investigation.

Perhaps because I am a very visual person I enjoyed the film more than many others did, but I encourage you to look beneath the slow, still waters of the movie's general flow, and pluck out the tasty treats in the form of interesting notes and speculations, and savor them for a bit. It was really at that point that From Hell went from four to five stars for me.

Languid, graceful, gory, suspenseful, atmospheric, and moody, don't miss out on this great sleeper film. Enjoy!
From Hell

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January 26, 2009
This sleeper put me to sleep. The script was very weak indeed. Probably best enjoyed by Depp die-hards.
More From Hell (2001 film) reviews
Quick Tip by . May 03, 2011
Heavy on atmosphere and even heavier on conspiracy theories, FROM HELL boasts outstanding performances from Johnny Depp and Heather Graham as two lost souls crying out for one another's company while remaining caught in the twists and turns of Jack the Ripper's nefarious deeds toward the end of the 1900s. A fascinatingly brisk tale, not for the squeamish of heart or stomach, but one that dares to draw its one conclusions when other pictures have failed to do so. Sit back, have some popcorn, …
review by . January 05, 2010
Johnny squares off with Jack , but even that isn't intresting enough to save this film ....
Jack the Ripper's true identity  has always been  talk among people  for  two centuries, yet nobody has come up with a decent answer or any conclusive evidence to  truly crack  the case of  the worlds first serial killer.  Now in late 2001 the Hughes Brothers  attempt to adapt the  90's   graphic novel  series from Alan Moore(creator of Watchmen)  that gives a  spin on  the true identity  of one of the in famous …
review by . March 31, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Imagery, pacing, generally well told      Cons: Tacked on romantic bit and a fanciful guess at the man himself      The Bottom Line: If you are a Ripper-o-phile, don't bother. If you like films made with an eye toward the visually stunning, then this is pretty close to a must see.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. To paraphrase the epigraph that opens the Hughes Brothers’ …
review by . February 25, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
The time: 1888. The place: London, Whitechapel district (the Victorian equivalant to the modern Red Light district). Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) is a beautiful and buxom lass who's life in London didn't turn out anything like she planned, struggling just to survive working in the world's oldest profession. Mary and her friends live a harsh existence. Their only comforts are their own companionship and the belief that their lives cannot possibly get any worse than it already is. But they do. Their …
review by . February 02, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Johnny Depp, period piece     Cons: cliched plot with revisionist history imprints     The Bottom Line: Johhny Depp does it again in a revisionist take on the classic Ripper murders!     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Saw this one at the buck fifty palace and it was worth every penny. I tried to catch it earlier at the regular theater and would have paid full price ticket but couldn't juggle …
review by . October 18, 2001
Pros: Great sets and costumes, gripping story.     Cons: may to be to graphic for some.     The Bottom Line: A great and gripping look into one of the most chilling chapters in history. Great sets, acting, and pacing make this a solid film.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Jack the Ripper, one of the most notorious and yet mysterious figures every to emerge from history. A cold, and ruthless killer, …
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I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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About this movie


From Hell is a 2001 American thriller-horror-mystery film about the Jack the Ripper murders, loosely based on the graphic novel of the same title by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. It was directed by the Hughes brothers, the first film that they directed outside of the hood film genre. It was first released on October 19, 2001.
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Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: October 19, 2001
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Rafael Yglesias, Terry Hayes
Runtime: 122 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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