Sunday, 22 September 2013

From Hell (4 Stars)

This is the story of Jack the Ripper, based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore. Maybe I should refer to it as a story, not the story, because the case was never solved, the Ripper was never caught, and as time goes by the speculations get even wilder. I don't say this to criticise the film, not at all. This is a work of fiction, not a true story, even though many of the characters in the film are people who really lived. Nobody, not even Alan Moore himself, would claim that the film represents what really happened. On the other hand, it represents a theory, something thrown into the ring for discussion.

Jack the Ripper is not only the best known serial killer, but arguably the most overrated. Only five murders were attributed to him over a period of two months. After this he stopped. Maybe he died. Maybe he stopped because he was scared of being caught. The film proposes a different theory. It's a grand tale of a conspiracy involving the secret police, the Freemasons and the British royal family. We find out that the prostitutes weren't random victims, they were witnesses of a scandal who needed to be silenced. When these five were killed the work was done.

It's a good film, with an outstanding performance by Johnny Depp as Inspector Abberline. It was interesting to see a scene with the elephant man, even though it had little to do with the story. The atmosphere of Victorian London is impressive, though not as overwhelming as in Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes". It's a film definitely worth watching.

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