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Teen Movie Critic - V

From Hell


Jeff Nelson

...this movie has a bit of a cult following, but it just doesn't work for me.

From Hell
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The infamous story of Jack The Ripper is known by almost everybody. From all of the different interpretations, this is a brutal story. However, it's depicted rather differently in different forms of media. I wasn't sure what Hollywood would do with the story. They're known for twisting stories to make them more 'interesting'.

In Victorian Era London, a troubled detective investigates the murders committed by Jack The Ripper. While the film is about The Ripper, he's spoken of much more than he's shown. Most of the actions are all talk and no action. The pacing is unbearably slow at times. I struggled to stay awake especially during the final act of the film. I find the actual concept fascinating, but the movie is flooded with lengthy lines of dull dialogue. When renting this, I expected to see The Ripper and his murderous ways, but instead the movie is more about the inspector. The script gets some points for attempting to make characters with depth, despite their short comings. However, the movie just never quite worked. Some characters are just unlikable while others are downright idiotic. The plot twists aren't anything fancy, regardless of the buzz I heard concerning the ending. Nothing special to see here, move along.

It's without a doubt that the two lead actors are what pulled in pulled in viewers more than any other factor. Johnny Depp performs as the detective while Heather Graham is the love interest. I have difficulty ever taking Depp seriously in a dramatic role. He just doesn't fit the bill. He's definitely a good actor, but he just doesn't feel right for the role. Heather Graham tries too hard here. She has certainly brought characters to life on the big screen beautifully. This cannot be said about this performance. Not all of the fault lies on her, but on the screenplay. Nevertheless, the acting never comes full circle here.

The cinematography and scenery are rather impressive. The sets all look great and very realistic. The few scenes that The Ripper is shown attacking, the visuals truly stand out. The editing and different camera exposures are used very well. The director certainly had a good time messing with the lighting. The violence and gore are both shown tastefully. There isn't just fake blood being spread across the screen, but is shown from an artistic aspect. The alleys are pitch dark with bright red gore hitting the pavement. This is without a doubt the highlight of the movie.

To put it simply, the movie goes into two categories. While it has a creative aspect to the visuals, it feels like a bad cable network crime drama at times. Johnny Depp is not a good pick for the role. An actor with a smaller name in the industry may have been able to withhold the role a bit better. Even though the movie isn't that long, it sure feels as though it is. Too much talking and not enough doing. I'm aware that the movie has a bit of a cult following, but it just doesn't work for me. Very mediocre presentation that isn't memorable in the slightest.

My Rating = Two and One Half Stars

Next movie: A Clockwork Orange
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