Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From Hell

Many seem to take great pleasure in bashing this Hughes Brothers adaptation of the Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell graphic novel and on some levels they have good reason too. The casting is buggered, the overall feel inconsistant and the accents wretched but none of this means it isn't an enjoyable piece of work. Sure, the great Victorian conspiracy theory surrounding the mystery of Jack the Ripper has been pretty much put to rest but it still makes for a great bit of fiction and here is where FROM HELL succeeds. Most are content to watch Johnny Depp in anything but oddly enough this is one of his weaker performances wheras it happens to be one of Heather Graham's best even if she sticks out like a china tea cup in a McDonald's! Who really makes this work is Ian Holm and at the risk of a spoiler here I have to say his final scene in FROM HELL is one for the ages. For him to appear in such a naked and debased form is a testament to his skill in the craft and speaking of craft, you will find the most authentic depiction of Masonic ritual here ever put to film. It is because of this aspect many have called this a blatant rip-off of MURDER BY DECREE and this is totally unfair. Yes, the elements explored are the same and yes, MURDER BY DECREE by far the better film but FROM HELL takes it in a different direct and thus must be judged on it's own accord. A special mention must be made of Robbie Coltrane who turns in a wicked little performance and is always a pleasure to see.


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