Unlike most Jack the Ripper chillers, this study in deductive reasoning goes easy on the gory spectacle in favor of allowing the viewer to discover clues and make inferences about the guilty party. 1988, London: As Springheel Jack begins cutting a bloody swath through the notorious Whitechapel slums, class-conscious Sir Charles Warren (Michael York) lets Scotland Yard know he expects quick results. He has especially high expectations of Detective Jim Hansen (Patrick Bergin), whom he's been grooming for higher office despite Hansen's modest background. Hansen, who grew up in the impoverished area the Ripper is now terrorizing, is ambitious to and can't help but be flattered by the friendly curiosity of Sir Charles's close friend, Prince Albert Victor Edward (Samuel West), heir to Queen Victoria's throne. Meanwhile, factory girl Florry Lewis (Gabrielle Anwar) interrupts the Ripper mid-assault; suspicious of the police, who've mistreated her in the past, Florry only grudgingly cooperates with Hansen. Hansen and Florry eventually become lovers, and he vows to protect her, jeopardizing both the ripper case and his courtship of an aristocratic Englishwoman. After Sir Charles reveals Florry's address to the Prince, Florry's best friend becomes the Ripper's latest victim. As Hansen narrows down his list of suspects, he boards Florry at his apartment. Taking into account possible motives, the precision of the madman's butchery and drawing on lab work and the testimony of a handwriting expert, Hansen deduces that the Ripper is an Eton graduate with some medical training and a grudge against prostitutes for giving him syphilis; the disease has driven him insane. But nailing the culprit puts Hansen on a collision course with crown and country: If the maniac is Prince Albert Victor, Hansen will wreck his career trying to prove it. Screenwriter Robert Rodat handles the political and social forces behind the police investigation into the ripper killings, making this deftly directed thriller more than a rehash of Scotland Yard's notorious unsolved case.
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: Unlike most Jack the Ripper chillers, this study in deductive reasoning goes easy on the gory spectacle in favor of allowing the viewer to discover clues and make inferences about the guilty party. 1988, London: As Springheel Jack begins cutting a bloody s… (more)