18 April 2014

From Hell

From Hell 2001
  • Directors: Albert and Allen Hughes
  • Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
  • Cast: Johnny Depp,  Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Richardson, Katrin Cartlidge, Susan Lynch,  Leslie Sharp, Paul Rhys, Joanna Page
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Johnny Depp  Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Slow Burn, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Arizona Dream, Benny and Joon, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Dead Man, Nick of Time, Donnie Brasco, The Brave, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Astronaut’s Wife, Sleepy Hollow, The Man Who Cried, Chocolat, Blow, From Hell, Lost in La Mancha, Pirates of the Caribbean (all four of them), Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Secret Window, Finding Neverland, Libertine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist
    • Heather Graham – Boogie Nights, The Ballad of Little Jo, Twin Peaks, Drugstore Cowboy
    • Ian Holm – The Aviator, Day after Tomorrow, Lord of the Rings trilogy, eXistenZ, A Life Less Ordinary, The Fifth Element, The Madness of King George, Frankenstein, Kafka, Hamlet, Henry V, Brazil, Alien, Oh What a Lovely War
    • Robbie Coltrane – Harry Potter, Henry V, Black Adder, Tutti Frutti, Absolute Beginners
    • Ian Richardson – Becoming Jane, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Brazil, Much Ado about Nothing
    • Katrin Cartlidge – Career Girls, Breaking the Waves, Naked, Hotel Splendide
    • Joanna Page – Love Actually, Very Annie Mary
    • Lesley Sharp – The Full Monty, Naked, Vera Drake
  • Why? JD
  • Seen:  Twice before. Now: April 12, 2014
From one drug addict to another but this is a completely different kind of film and much better.
It opens to the harsh, dangerous and poverty stricken lives of a group of prostitutes in Whitechapel in 1888. In these short scenes we get to know these individual women.
Cut to an opium den where inspector JD is being vigorously awakened by Sergeant Robbie Coltrane to investigate the brutal murder of one of the women.
And so it starts.  A brilliant, drug-addicted, grieving widower and possibly psychic detective tries to solve the Jack the Ripper mystery.
It’s grim and atmospheric with meticulous visual detail of Victorian London slums, barbaric (to us) medical practices, and royal chambers. Class conflict and anti-Semitism are hinted at.
The story is cleverly and plausibly concocted to include several of the theories still remaining (as far as I know) around the identity of the Ripper, focussing on the degenerate syphilitic prince, grandson of Queen Victoria, and the Free Masons.
It’s quite a sad story really. And frightening as one after another of the women we get to know is murdered.  The love angle between JD and one of the prostitutes, played by Heather Graham (generally considered a bad choice for the part but I think she’s OK), is not totally convincing but we believe it anyway.  Robbie Coltrane is good as the Shakespeare quoting sergeant.
It’s a captivating and good looking film.            
3 ½ * of 5

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