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 ...
According to John Douglas (creator of criminal profiling), the Ripper murders were the work of a disorganized, paranoid personality, not the calculating one shown in this movie. See more »
Several lobotomies are shown being performed in 1888, but this process was first performed in Switzerland in 1890, and did not become common until at least 10 years after that. See more »
[in Jack the Ripper's carriage]
That was the thing that was in my dream. What's it called again?
Jack the Ripper:
Cleopatra, she was a beauty.
Jack the Ripper:
They were carved 1450 years before the son of God was born. Six men died bringing it here.
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I say old chap, the British accent IS a bit of a sticky wicket
I was amazed (and a bit perplexed) to hear so many of the previous commenters on IMDb namely, those from the British Isles make such pointed comments on the (apparently) scarcely believable accents of American actors Johnny Depp and Heather Graham. As for me, being a Yank and all, I neither noticed nor cared too much whether either Depp or Graham turned out a spotless British, Cockney, Irish or what-have-you accent because ultimately I don't know enough about those accents to be able to make an informed opinion. So in that respect I was rather neutral on the whole accent business throughout the film.
Yes, I know what an authentic B-C-I accent sounds like, and I too noticed that these weren't flawless, but I never gave it much thought, as both of them seemed at least realistic and convincing enough to allow me to enjoy the overall atmospheric "look and feel" of the movie, which was far more important.
That being said, I can see where you are coming from. It would be the equivalent of watching a movie, say, featuring Medieval warriors doing battle, where everything in the battle scenes the weapons, battle flags, helmets, spears, horses, etc.- are just spot-on accurately depicted, but (horror!) here and there you notice that a few of the foot soldiers are seen to be wearing modern-day wrist watches and sunglasses, or sporting the latest pair of Nike running shoes on their feet. Distracting, to say the least and potentially ruinous to the whole "magic" of the movie experience.
I get the same reaction, I guess, when I see American actors who were born north of the Mason-Dixon line attempting to do a realistic- sounding Southern accent. My own mother was born and raised in the Deep South; I've personally traveled throughout much of the South, and as such I can spot a real Southern accent from a fake one from at least a mile away. (Good example of a non-Suthnah' doing an incredible Southern accent: Fred Gwynne (born/raised in NY-NY) as Judge Chamberlain Haller in 1992's "My Cousin Vinny").
But these comments about accents do raise some interesting critical questions. Namely, should Gollywood try to make more of an effort in casting the most appropriate (and realistic) actor or actress in every cast opening? Hmm, let's see, Inspector Abberline was from Dorset... perhaps the producers of this film could have or should have found an actor born and bred in Dorset to fill the role of Inspector Abberline? (Sorry, I don't right off hand know any actors originally from Dorset, so you'll have to provide me a name, if you know of one!). But on the other hand (and we all know this stubborn little fact of filmdom)... yes, that's right, they have to sell those tickets, they have to fill those seats in the theaters, folks. And Johnny Depp say what you will about him he *does* at least have that "fill the seats" sort of box-office magnetism.
I have always admired Johnny Depp, and I like much of his body of work. And I hurry to say that I was not disappointed with his work in this film. I regret that, for many of you, he didn't make the grade as a convincing enough Inspector Abberline, so much so that it ruined an otherwise absorbing and atmospheric film. I can only point out that, given the realities and mysteries of casting, it could have been worse. I mean, thank God it wasn't Bill Murray playing the Inspector! (Danny DeVito, anyone?)
With the possible exception of calling the good folks at Central Casting, I don't know what the answer is, I don't know what we can do about it... (Sorry, I don't know their number, but I know it ISN'T "1-800-GET-REAL".) But let me just close by saying that movies DO require a certain contribution of suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. Until the folks at Central Casting can come up with perfect matches for every cast part, or until actors and actresses can effortlessly adopt themselves to the subtleties of a regional or foreign dialect, well, we will just have to deal with it, won't we?
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