Friday, March 15, 2002

The Movie I Watched Last Night XII
Tuesday: From Hell
Johnny Depp, increasingly one of my favorite elastic actors, does an impressive job portraying a laudanum- and absinthe-addicted near-psychic inspector investigating the Jack the Ripper case in Victorian London. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell and directed by the Hughes brothers, the film holds up relatively well as an adaptation of the book, although the movie was underpromoted and not billed as the intense, complex tale it is. Combining elements of the Ripper mythos, a conspiracy theory involving the royal family, and the political mysticism of Freemasonry, "From Hell" doesn't have the impact of Moore and Campbell's original work but goes far to dramatize the Ripper killings in a new and innovative way. The violence is handled tastefully, and Ian Holm's casting as Sir William Gull presages the ability and intensity he brought to the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring.

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