From Hell
**.9 GM
Starring: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Holm, Jason Flemyng

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For any who are curious, let me start by saying that the film takes some big dramatic license with the Alan Moore graphic novel, so don't expect it to be faithful.

What we have in this film is a London police inspector with opium-fueled prestidigitations about murders taking on the Jack The Ripper case as it unfolds. Seems Jack is killing prostitutes. Can Inspector Abbeline figure out who it is and stop them before time runs out for the one prostitute being played by a famous person?

Although the real Jack was never found (at least not publicly), the film names him, places him and deals with him. I don't have a problem with that at all. My beef is that if you're going to set up a "whodunit," your best bet is to have more than one of your suspects fleshed out. See, having only one other character of any significance that isn't an accomplice, cop or prostitute kinda limits the options here. Perhaps the notion that they would have the temerity to "reveal" who Jack actually was would be surprise enough, they'd surmise, and thus no competent mystery need apply.

The performances were decent enough. Depp is never bad. Graham isn't as bad as I thought she'd be. Robbie Coltrane is bitchin'. Holm's got the sauce. The visuals were incredible at times and it did have its entertaining moments. I even walked out of the theater with a bit of a shrug and a 'That was decent' state o' mind, despite the applause from the rest of the audience (most likely the same folks that gasped periodically through Serendipity, so be sure to grain-of-salt that reaction). Upon further reflection, though, I get more and more aggravated that this 'mystery' wasn't much of one at all.

It's an interesting theory about the whole affair, though, and it managed to entertain well enough despite the relative lack of suspense. If you aren't one that gives a good goddamn about whether or not a film collapses under the weight of further scrutiny and analysis, then this one'll work for you.

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