From Hell

Jack the Ripper, the famous 19th century serial killer, was a conspiracy perpetuated by the Freemasons and the Royal Family. That is the basis for From Hell, a movie that focuses on the investigation of five murders that occurred in London in the Fall of 1988 credited to a methodical surgeon whose identity is still unknown.

Johnny Depp plays Inspector Frederick Abberline of Scotland Yard, assigned to the investigation of a prostitute's murder in the Whitechapel district of London. The prostitute belonged to a circle of friends who soon start being picked off one by one. Abberline investigates this circle thoroughly, and in doing so, delves into a nefarious plot involving the Royal Family, the Royal doctor, the Freemasons, and a wayward Prince; and falls for one of the five prostitutes, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham).

This is one of the better roles Depp has played and it suits him well to characterise a intense detective with an addictive personality. Ian Holm is powerful as the sophisticated villain. The Hughes brothers imbibe the film with an atmosphere that is reminiscent of a Tim Burton endeavour, which nicely illustrates the darkness in which the Ripper thrives. The influence of Alan Moore, whose comic book series inspired this film, is clearly present.

There have been several interpretations of the Ripper story (I personally like the one in The Outer Limits, where the Ripper turns out to be an alien), but this is definitely one of the more interesting. while it's hard to pin down exactly what From Hell is, I can easily say it is thought-provoking and mesmerising. I highly recommend checking it out on the big screen.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||