Among the overexploited legends that are still talked about today, Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous. This story is true but the medias have made it something huge. From Hell tries to offer its hazardous version of what could have really happened and presents a combination of intrigue and fantasy that remains realistic.
The detective possesses powers that are only subjectively integrated into their context. While his talent guides him, he must get a hold of whatever proof he can find, knowing the professionís procedures and the intermittence of his visions. Up to this point, the film doesnít allow itself to be too superficial; it doesnít remind us of any manipulative Hollywood films that producers usually love to offer.
Sadly, someone, somewhere, found it good to insert a love story between Frederick and Mary (Johnny Depp and Heather Graham) that evolves much too quickly. The film constantly exploits the differences between social groups and makes the influence they have on one another very obvious. Then, they try to make us swallow a relationship between a man of authority and a prostitute. When we finally get used to this reversal, the film pushes the exaggeration to the point of trying to make us shed a tear which will, hopefully, not happen for anyone.
A secret murderer spills the blood during most of the film and the killer will eventually be revealed. Fortunately, the explanation isnít melodramatic but still isnít satisfactory, especially for one of historyís greatest mysteries. The outcome is political and probably wonít satisfy the spectatorís expectations even though it is a plausible explanation when considering the existent social structure.
This movie has the merit of not trying to exploit its theme to the extreme but rather offers a satisfying theory mixed with events that make this string of five killings pop out of the ordinary. All too often these days, such serial killings seem commonplace and arenít very impressive. The setting is fabulous, the atmosphere is palpable, Johnny Depp demonstrates once more his flexible talent but Heather Graham is simply not in the right environment. She is quite good but has a permanent smile engraved on her face, which should limit her to less serious roles as the one she plays in From Hell.