With the help of the producers of Natural Born Killers, American ghetto blasters the Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents) jack up the Ripper. The first 20 minutes are grim. One prostitute after another is assaulted with gruesome relish - the Brothers' camera honing in for the kill, slicing through the Whitechapel fog. One fancies it's not just the Ripper who is getting off on this. Then there's Graham's Mary Kelly struggling wanly with an alleged Irish accent and Depp's Inspector Fred Abberline, with his soft south London sting and predilections for absinthe and laudanum - shades of Sherlock Holmes. Depp gives a typically studious performance, though locals may require a period of readjustment to understand him. This is not for sensitive souls. But then sensitive souls probably wouldn't be caught dead at a Ripper movie. How foolish, then, that Twentieth Century Fox should have insisted on a trite romance - the Brothers' disinterest is palpable - to weigh down what is otherwise a surprisingly compelling conspiracy yarn. Here is one costume movie that doesn't allow its period atmospherics to clog up the works, while the Hughes' kinetic style heightens the script's attack on endemic class issues, snobbery, racism and sexual hypocrisy. Fitfully arresting late night entertainment.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes|
|Screenwriter:||Terry Hayes, Rafael Yglesias|