Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Jason Flemyng, Katrin Cartlidge, Terence Harvey, Susan Lynch, Paul Rhys, Lesley Sharp, Estelle Skornik, Nicholas McGaughey, Annabelle Apsion, Joanna Page, Mark Dexter, Sophia Myles
Written by: Terry Hayes, Rafael Yglesias, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell
Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 137
Date: 09/08/2001

From Hell (2001)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Saucy Jack

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

From Pandora's Box to Time After Time, Jack the Ripper has proven a far more durable movie baddie than Freddy, Jason and Hannibal combined. Johnny Depp stars in From Hell as the equivalent of a 19th-century homicide detective determined to discover the identity of the killer and save a beautiful prostitute (Heather Graham) from his blade. The directors, the twin Hughes Brothers Allen and Albert, depart from their usual streetwise urban dramas (like the excellent Menace II Society) for this broodingly atmospheric England with blood running in and around the cobblestones. Too bad the screenplay occasionally wobbles from incoherent to obvious (it's too easy to solve the mystery). It's well worth seeing anyway. Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias adapted the screenplay from Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's graphic novel. Robbie Coltrane and Ian Holm also star.

DVD Details: The twin filmmaking brothers Allen and Albert Hughes continue to surprise, moving from their anarchic documentary American Pimp to this gorgeous, atmospheric Jack the Ripper story based on Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore's graphic novel. Johnny Depp stars as the constable in charge of tracking Jack and Heather Graham is the sweet-looking prostitute who steals his heart. It's a little easy to figure out who the killer is, but the film's overwhelming texture of the story is well worth the effort. This 2-disc set (2001, CBS/Fox Home Video, $29.98) contains plenty of extras -- with a tour of the set with the Hughes brothers and a video history of Absinthe as standouts.

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