Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2001. Twentieth Century Fox, Underworld Entertainment. Screenplay by Terry Hayes, Rafael Yglesias, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell. Cinematography by Peter Deming. Produced by Jane Hamsher, Don Murphy. Music by Trevor Jones. Production Design by Martin Childs. Costume Design by Kym Barrett. Film Editing by George Bowers, Dan Lebental. Toronto International Film Festival 2001.
Annoyingly boring movie about Jack The Ripper that was intended by directors Allen and Albert Hughes to be the definitive movie on the world’s premier and most mysterious serial killer, but is really just another lame gorefest. By trying to incorporate all aspects of Victorian England (the Queen and her iron rule, the scandal of the Elephant Man, the price of grapes among other things) into the mosaic of the film, the Hughes Brothers have actually gone overboard and made a movie that has too many unexplained scenes, repetitive murder sequences and absolutely no sense of pacing whatsoever. Johnny Depp plays a detective who, while on the case of the Ripper, becomes friendly with a prostitute (Heather Graham) who could be the next victim. Robbie Coltrane is the film’s only liveliness as Depp’s friend and colleague, a man who helps clear away some red tape and let Depp do his job. Why Depp’s character can see the murders before they actually happen in his drug-induced dreams is never really explained, an oddity considering that his foreseeing the events never helps the investigation nor does he seem to care much about it afterwards (at least Annette Bening in In Dreams felt bad that she couldn’t prevent the murders of the girls she kept seeing in her mind). Why the Hughes brothers keep showing every single murder in full detail is also never justified; it’s not like after the first few times we’d be so dim as to be unacquainted with the meaning of a quick knife-cutting sound and a woman’s distant scream. The only recommendable aspect of this film is the fact that the directors admirably do use restraint in depicting the film’s more violent scenes, something pretty unique for this day and age of horror films, but the last third of the film will have audiences reeling with anger.