From Hell

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One day people will look back at this movie and say: "COOL!"

Oct 20, 2001 (Updated Oct 22, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Blood soaked beauty!

Cons:Not much of a mystery. Pacing is a bit odd.

The Bottom Line: Read Review

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Have you ever had a discussion with someone who had some part of their body amputated? When ever this has happened to me, part of my body actually feels weird. Or have you ever read a text book that was so graphic, and medically correct, that you actually began to feel like something was wrong with you? These kind of things sometimes happen to me, but it's rare. I'll maybe see somebody with one foot, and out of sympathy pain, or whatever, my foot will start to hurt. Well this scenario happened to me tonight at From Hell. Walking out of the theater, I felt like I had been disemboweled, lobotomized, and left to rot. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a good thing. In fact, I am giving The Hughes Brothers the biggest compliment in the world when I say: From Hell is one of the darkest and most disturbing mainstream films I have ever seen.

Based on the comic book series of the same name, From Hell tells the story of Jack the Ripper and his murderous rampage through the gritty streets of Whitechapel. Since the events in the film are real, and since no one really seems to have a clue about what really happened, The Hughes Brothers (Menace 2 Society) have a lot to work with. And woah baby, do they work it!

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly the Brothers were quoted as saying, "There's this conception out there that we only do a certain kind of film -- a shoot-'em up Negro type of movie -- so we decided to go for something different." Did they ever. With From Hell the two brothers show they can do just about anything they put their mind to, except make a film that is commercial.

People who have seen previews on the TV, might think they are going to see just some scary slasher type of movie. I'm here to warn you naive folks, this is not that movie. The movie you are thinking of is Tim Burton's fantasy: Sleepy Hollow. In terms of comparing the rawness of the two, From Hell makes Sleepy Hollow look like Will & Grace.

So what exactly is From Hell you might be asking? To be honest, I'm not sure. It has all the aspects of a horror film, but it's smarter. It's too classy to be labeled a horror film. It's too gritty and unflinching to be called a period piece. I would say the best way to describe the film is this: From Hell is an unsettling piece of art, that is sometimes imperfect (in fact the film is far from perfect), nonetheless, it turns out to be one of the year's most ambitious and unforgettable films.

Why From Hell is the definition of cool:

Visually the film is untouchable. Good God is this a beauty to look at. Anyone who likes a little style in a movie, well Hell has got it. One thing i'll add, the style never distracts. Now that I have seen From Hell, I can honestly say, you couldn't make a Jack the Ripper movie unless you made it look just like this!

The acting in the film is outstanding. Inspector Abberline is one hell of a character, and Johnny Depp does a solid job. Abberline is of course the man who is hot on the trail of the vicious killer. He smokes opium, has visions of the killer, falls in love with a hooker, and at the same time he uncovers terrible conspiracies that go back to...I wouldn't dare tell.

Who could play a better hooker than Heather Graham? I believe Graham is a good actress, but she's been in some stinkers. Because of that she's sucked in the majority of her films. Isn't it odd that her best work to date has been playing a hooker, or playing a porn star (Boogie Nights)? Anyway, she is good in the film, very sweet and pathetic. The supporting cast is superb as well, although I won't talk too much about them, because their all suspects and I'm not giving away anything.

The grotesqueness of it all. This film is brutal. Which makes it the perfect type of film to watch during Halloween. Now if violence in movies doesn't interest you, this film is not for you. I mean it is a Jack the Ripper film. It features some of the most profound killings in recent memory. But wait, there's more. It also has lobotomies, and if that doesn't do it for you, how about an elephant man?

Why From Hell is not perfect:

I so badly wanted to give this movie five stars. Part of me is so disappointed that the film is not the masterpiece it is so close to becoming. Maybe after another viewing of it, I'll realize what a dork I was for giving it four stars, but here are my reasons.

It's WAY too easy to pick the killer out. I mean come on. You'd have to be Forrest Gump not to figure out who the killer is in the first 45 minutes. Another problem is that the film could be a little tighter. I think if The Hughes brothers would have cut about ten minutes, and that's all, the film would feel a lot smoother.

So what's the final verdict? A must see in my book. This is the type of movie i'll buy the first day it comes out on DVD. Is it going to be a massive hit? Probably not. This is the kind of film casual moviegoers will be turned off by. It's like a fine wine, not for all tastes. I'll be willing to bet though, ten years down the road, people will still be talking about it.

Recommend this product? Yes

Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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