Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Davis, Penry-Jones and Pemberton
WHITECHAPEL: THE RIPPER RETURNS (2009). Director: S. J. Clarkson.

"He's like a wife who wants to change all your bad habits."

Whitechapel is a British television series, with each of three seasons consisting of three or four episodes. The premise has modern-day London police officers investigating crimes that have ties to the past. The first season focused on a series of murders in Whitechapel in which the unknown killer is recreating the ghastly crimes of Jack the Ripper. Heading the investigation is the comparatively young and inexperienced DI [Deputy Investigator] David Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones), who gets the men under his command to clean up their act and clothing [making them stupidly assume that he must be gay], and his chief assistant is grizzled Deputy Sergeant Ray Miles (Philip Davis). Both helping and hindering the investigation is one Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton), a "ripperologist" who first comes to the police with his theory that recent murders are copycat crimes of the original Ripper. Chandler has quite a time convincing his superiors -- let alone his men -- that a new Jack the Ripper is at work in Whitechapel, but before long there's plenty of horrific evidence that his theory is correct. [Hint: don't watch this while you're eating.] Each episode of The Ripper Returns is only 45 minutes long making the full mini-series only two hours and a quarter, so it can be watched on DVD in one sitting. While the story lacks that certain gritty veracity and takes certain liberties, the series is entertaining, creepy, and has good performances, with Penry-Jones making an appealing and attractive protagonist.

Verdict: Watch out for that Ripper! ***.

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