122 min., 2001
Written by Terry Hayes/Rafael Yglesias
Directed by Albert Hughes/Allen Hughes
My rating: ★★★
All pretty and no real substance.
* * *
We begin with a lady of the night, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) is trying to find business when she is “talked to” by a man named McQueen (David Schofield) and is told that she and her friends owe him some money. We then switch to a “dream” that Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp) is having while he is “chasing the dragon”. As it turns out his vision is pretty dead on and this is the reason why he is called on by Sgt. Peter Godley (Robbie Coltrane). Mary Kelly and her fellow prostitutes continue to work the streets when another one is killed. They are then talked to by Frederick who is trying to figure out who the killer could be. He believes that it is an “educated” man, but no one tends to take him very seriously. As we move along we learn about a man named Sir William Gull (Ian Holm) who seems to be the most likely suspect, but can someone so refined be a brutal killer?
The acting in the movie is very half and half. Most of the actors really pull off their characters with believability but then at the same time they all tend to forget their accents at times and that really pulls you out of the movie. Johnny Depp is really good (big surprise) but he also falls victim to the accent curse. When he does have the proper accent he works great, but then it flops, okay maybe not flops but it’s really annoying. Heather Graham is probably the biggest culprit when it comes to dropping their accent. Almost every scene she has it and then loses it. That’s really sloppy, not just on her part but also on everyone behind the scenes to not address that.
Now the effects and the overall look of the movie is the shining star of this movie. Everything is shot beautifully and everything feels very much of the time without hitting you with a brick and yelling “do you see what year it is?” There are a few edits that are a bit to flashy for my taste, but overall it is quite a gorgeous movie to see. The major gore scenes are really well shot and the actual effects look very nice.
The biggest problem with the movie is that they have taken Jack The Ripper and given him a name and face. That bothers me because it takes away from the terror that he could still be out there (yes I know he’s not). Another thing that bothers me is that they have Inspector Frederick Abberline almost like a psychic. Really? Is that really necessary? It feels incredibly forced and really lame, because it’s the drugs that give him the visions. Again, REALLY? In the end it’s an extremely beautiful movie and most of the acting is really solid, but if you are into Jack The Ripper and don’t what any of the facts destroyed you may just want to avoid this one.Have You Read...?