***/**** Image A- Sound A+ Extras A
starring Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Paul Rhys
screenplay by Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
directed by Albert Hughes & Allen Hughes
by Walter Chaw Alan Moore's brilliant graphic novel From Hell is first a work of Romanticism (in that it evolves from a mistrust of industry, a demonizing of all that the rail represents to the continued corruption of nature), then a nostalgia for a hopelessly idealized past. Once his Romantic roots are established, Moore clarifies the evolutionary link between British Romanticism and Modernism by lifting a quote from Jack the Ripper's infamous letter: "One day, men will look back and say I gave birth to the twentieth century." As it's employed by Moore and in consideration of the author's grasp of literary theory, this one quote eloquently juxtaposes the impact of Bloody Jack's Grand Guignol rampage in London of 1888 with the fin de siècle (The French Revolution) that marked the actual birth of Romanticism in the Lake District of 1789. In simpler terms, From Hell is a work of incomparable incandescence--smart stuff for smart people and theoretically the easiest of Moore's works to translate to the big screen.