From Hell (2001)
Engaging, dark, and will keep your attention...
12 October 2012
Johnny Depp, as Inspector Abberline has the daunting task of finding Jack the Ripper, who has killed five or more females who live in the impoverished Whitechapel District of London in 1885.

Victorian England is believably well-constructed here. The film evinces the streets, dark and dank 'doss houses', and the wretched lives on the East End of Whitechapel. It's not glamorized, it was a slum (I have visited London and Mitre Square, while now surrounded by business and banks, is indeed a sad parking area,and a tourist sign still demarcates the victim who was found there.

There are several theories hinted at here, Sir William Gull (excellently portrayed by Ian Holm) the physician to Queen Victoria and her grandson, who was afflicted with a social disease. Sir William was an experienced surgeon and also a Freemason. The Masonic Lodge plays into theories here as well, as the area where several female victims were found mutilated was close by.

However, there are other theories also.

The visuals of this film are noteworthy. The red sky and Westminter Chapel, the cold brutality of winters in an era of workhouses and little options for the impoverished.

While not a solution to the mystery (we may never have one), Depp , Holm and the performance of Heather Graham as Irish street walker and victim "Mary Kelly" is worth watching. You will get a feel for the era.

Sir Ian Holm, as he teaches an anatomy class and states : "the heart is a stubborn muscle, like mahogany, it is almost impossible to burn", as we see the visual in his mind of throwing a victims heart into the boiling kettle in his fireplace.

It is a pastiche of events, but does give one a sense of the murders, and what life must have felt like for those who were not born into royalty in Victorian England. Highly recommended. 10/10.
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