Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rippin' Good: "The Ripper" (1997)

Robert Rodat, the scribe behind "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Patriot," cut his teeth on this made for television film that surprises the viewer with its excellent performances.

Patrick Bergin is the London inspector investigating Jack the Ripper. The film makers show us early the killer is Prince Eddy, Queen Victoria's grandson and heir to the throne. Samuel West does an incredible job as the prince, a bitter syphilitic who is taking revenge on the prostitutes who probably gave him the disease. Gabrielle Anwar is also very natural as the prostitute who sees the prince, and finds protection in the arms of Bergin. Michael York rounds out the cast as Bergin's superior.

While the historical accuracy of all of this could be questioned, the cast does a great job with the sometimes stiff material. Meyers' direction is also good, not crossing into exploitation but not boring us with Merchant/Ivory type dialogue. The set is also good, as the credits read this was filmed in Australia.

"The Ripper" is a good detective yarn that would definitely appeal to fans of British murder mysteries and suspense fans alike. I do recommend it. (* * * *) out of five stars.