From Hell

October 19th, 2001


From Hell

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Still of Johnny Depp in From HellStill of Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane in From HellClayne Crawford at event of From HellStill of Johnny Depp in From HellInspector Abberline (Johnny Depp), promoted out of Whitechapel after years of service, finds himself assigned once again to the seedy district to lead the Ripper investigation.The Ripper

In Victorian Era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders by Jack The Ripper.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 6.8/10 (70,564 voted)

Critic's Score: 54/100

Director: Albert Hughes

Stars: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm

It is 1888 in London, and the unfortunate poor lead horrifying lives in the city's deadliest slum, Whitechapel. Harassed by gangs and forced to walk the streets for a living, Mary Kelly and her small group of companions trudge on through this daily misery, their only consolation being that things can't get any worse. Yet things somehow do when their friend Ann is kidnapped and they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Polly, and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one. Sinister even by Whitechapel standards, the murder grabs the attention of Inspector Fred Abberline, a brilliant yet troubled man whose police work is often aided by his psychic abilities. Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love...

Writers: Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell

Johnny Depp - Inspector Frederick Abberline
Heather Graham - Mary Kelly
Ian Holm - Sir William Gull
Robbie Coltrane - Sergeant Peter Godley
Ian Richardson - Sir Charles Warren
Jason Flemyng - Netley, the Coachman
Katrin Cartlidge - Dark Annie Chapman
Terence Harvey - Benjamin 'Ben' Kidney
Susan Lynch - Liz Stride
Paul Rhys - Dr. Ferral
Lesley Sharp - Kate Eddowes
Estelle Skornik - Ada
Nicholas McGaughey - Officer Bolt
Annabelle Apsion - Polly Nichols
Joanna Page - Ann Crook

Taglines: Only the legend will survive.

Release Date: 19 October 2001

Filming Locations: Barrandov Studios, Prague, Czech Republic

Box Office Details

Budget: $35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $11,014,818 (USA) (21 October 2001) (2305 Screens)

Gross: $38,700,761 (Worldwide) (2001) (except USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Although both Sergeant Godley and Inspector Frederick Abberline were involved in the Ripper murders (Abberline being the lead Inspector), they never worked together, and probably never even met until the arrest of George Chapman, a Ripper suspect.

Anachronisms: Abberline has an old looking 'graphophone' or perhaps phonograph in his flat. The 19th century equivalent of an iPod. At the time it should have looked brand-new, but this one has 100 years worth of blemishes.

Ada: Look, I bring everything for supper!
Mary Kelly: [snatches an envelope full of money] You little thief! I need this money!
Ada: I only take some money to buy food. For me and for you. Was that bad, Marie?
Mary Kelly: It's fine, dear. But until I go away, it's not safe for you to go out by yourself.
Ada: [caresses Mary's face] I stay with Marie, beautiful Marie.
Mary Kelly: It's alright, darling. You don't have to pay for your food.
Ada: Pardon?

User Review

Simply a fantastic movie

Rating: 9/10

The critics, nit-pickers and historical pedants who've trashed this superb piece of truly cinematic movie-making have totally missed the point.

So what if Johnny Depp's English accent isn't exactly "right" for his character? (English accents have always been problematic for all but the most skilled of American actors: Depp pulls it off entirely passably, way way better than - say - Keanu Reeves, risible in Coppola's Dracula. Think of Kevin Costner, who didn't even bother trying in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.) I'm a Londoner by birth, and for me the accent in no way detracted from Depp's excellent performance.

As for history, again, who cares if the filmmakers have employed a degree of dramatic licence? This is a movie, not a documentary. Nobody knows for sure who Jack the Ripper was, and in order to make the film interesting and enjoyable the writers have speculated a little. Fine by me.

OK, so Heather Graham was impossibly glamorous, but movies with big budgets need a little bit of star appeal. The notion of the "tart with a heart" is a cliché, sure, but nevertheless her character works in the context of the film. (Contrast the depiction of prostitution generally in this film with the utter garbage that is Pretty Woman.)

What's so great about this film? The quirky, literate script; the performances (all, with the possible exception of Graham, excellent); the wonderful photography and production design; the depiction of the murders themselves - elliptical, shocking, mesmerising; and above all the aura of brooding menace, gloom, cruelty, darkness, melancholy and downright despair running through it as deeply as the veins through a block of marble. This is marvellously thoughtful, evocative film-making, very bold and brave. No happy Hollywood ending, no phoney saccharine or cheap laughs to satisfy the popcorn brigade. This is a proper grown-ups movie that probes some of the darkest regions of the human psyche, places mainstream filmmakers like Lucas, Spielberg, James Cameron and their ilk don't dare to go, or couldn't go even if they wanted to. To me it appeals almost on a subconscious level, forcing us to confront our deepest fears and taboos - death, pain, suffering, human wickedness. I can't think of a recent major release that is so relentlessly downbeat.

Don't let the detractors put you off. It's hardly surprising a generation weened on MTV - folk with the the attention span of a gnat and the emotional depth of a paper cup - didn't like it. They've got their Screams and their Scary Movies, and they're welcome to them. This is super stuff, and the Hughes brothers and their collaborators should be heartily congratulated for it.

A classic, not so much for the plot, which is a little contrived, but for its sure command of cinema as a visual storytelling medium.


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