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. But as he gets closer to the truth, Whitechapel becomes more and ...
(at around 1h 17 mins) Inspector Abberline explains to Mary Kelly that they should pass notes via the barkeep of a nearby inn. "Barkeep" is an American usage; in England it would be "barman" for someone working in the pub or "landlord" for the owner. See more »
Sir William Gull:
Have you forgotten the most telling fact? What ever the Prince may be, he knows little or nothing about human anatomy.
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Three endings were filmed: one where Abberline dies of a drug overdose in London, one where he travels to the Far East and dies of an overdose in an Opium Den and one where he sneaks off to be with Mary. See more »
A rehash of The Royal Conspiracy theory, thoroughly debunked by serious Ripperologists (in particular Donald Rumbelow in his Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook). The theme has been used in many previous Ripper movies, in particular the 1988 made-for-TV "Jack the Ripper" with Michael Caine as Inspector Abberline and "Murder by Decree" with Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes ...
This 2001 version is similar, but whereas the two aforementioned films are terribly enjoyable (the 1988 TV movie particularly so) despite being inaccurate in their historical details, the new movie is simply terrible. Abberline (Johnny Depp) is a druggie, who uses opium to "see" details of brutal murders, and solves the case. Good job, because he doesn't do any real police work at any stage in the movie, even by 1888 standards ...
Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) is the whore with a heart of gold, who is sober and pretty right through the movie, with her make-up perfect, even when languishing at the Ten Bells. She never actually plies her trade, though, do the stage is all set for the fairy tale ending. And so on and so forth.
I won't even bother to point out the many, many, many factual inaccuracies and plain untruths in the film. That would fill too many pages on its own.
Most of the acting throughout is hammy and way over-the-top. The dialogue is appalling, and the directors haven't really read their own script. For example, it is clearly stated in the film that the murders were committed in the dark. Well, they were.
There were few gas lights in Whitechapel in 1888. The place was pitch-black as soon as night fell, hence the real Jack could get away with his slayings. Of course, in the movie, the stage - and it is clearly a sound stage, this is not art direction of the highest order - is nicely lit all the way, gas lights as far as the eye can see. But heck, this is the Hollywood version. Except this is not "Bram Stoker's Dracula" Hollywood. That was nicely done. This is day-time TV Hollywood, as regards plot, dialogue, character developement, cinematography and direction ...
Small bonus points in this shammy film: Ian Holm splendid as usual as Sir William Gull, Robbie Coltrane fine as Sergeant Godley, Ian Richardson splendid as always. Otherwise a really bad film. Stay clear. Or rent the 1988 version on video.
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