Thursday, January 20, 2011

#167. From Hell (2001)

DVD Synopsis: While Jack the Ripper ruled the streets of London, terror reigned. His crimes were unspeakable. His blood lust, unquenchable. His identity, unknown...until now! Johnny Depp and Heather Graham are riveting in this "engrossing, stylish thriller" (People Magazine). Directed by the Hughes Brothers (Dead Presidents, Menace II Society), From Hell "grips tighter than a chokehold and cuts as deep as a knife." (The Washington Post)

With it's graphic depictions of Jack the Ripper's various murders, From Hell certainly lives up to its name, and each fresh kill is a bit more gruesome than the last. However, the most compelling aspect of the film is not its blood and gore, but the way it recreates the world of the Ripper, namely the Whitechapel district of London, circa 1888. 

Production designer Martin Childs teamed once again with set decorator Jill Quertier, both of whom won an Academy Award for their work on 1998's Shakespeare in Love, to reconstruct this historic area of London. Thanks to their meticulous focus on every detail, from the costumes to the fog that filters through the streets, Whitechapel was once again, and quite convincingly, brought to life. As if in a state of perpetual awe, the camera spends a great deal of time exploring this world (the opening shot is one long walk through the streets of Whitechapel), and goes to even greater lengths to ensure that none of the design crew's hard work goes unnoticed. 

With From Hell, the Hughes brothers have successfully crafted the most artistic, most entertaining account to date of the story of Jack the Ripper. While the legend of the Ripper may have emerged from hell, this film is from an entirely different place altogether.

Please leave a comment below... I'd love to hear from you


Anonymous said...

The shot of the carriage steps unraveling from under the carriage of the "ripper" made me shiver each time. Kind of like the Alfred Hitchcock moment.
The Hughes Brothers are multi-talented and are yet to peak (they are under 40) join our Facebook page: A Salute to the Hughes Brothers.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comment, and I'll be joining your Facebook group today.

Page said...

I really enjoyed this film and I hadn't thought of it in years! I need to look for it, revisit it.
Thanks for the Twitter trivia on cinema! Always look forward to it.

Dave B. said...

Page: Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the comment. I'm glad you're enjoying the trivia tweets, and definitely check out FROM HELL again. It's worth a re-watch!

Take care, and thanks again