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From Hell (I)
In the autumn of 1888, in London’s sordid Whitechapel district, one name evoked terror and trepidation1 more than any other: “Jack the Ripper”. Never identified, Jack the Ripper was a man who, over a four-month period, was responsible for the deaths and mutilation of five women whose destitute lives had led them into prostitution.
Striking only at night, with the handywork and precision of a highly-skilled surgeon, this notorious killer tore at the fabric of London society. Fear and panic spread through communities with every newly discovered body. The killer was never caught. On a trail of death and dismemberment,2 the only thing left alive was the mystery surrounding his identity.
Now, more than a century later, Jack is back as the subject of a new movie starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham. In this fictionalized account of the infamous slayings, Depp plays Fred Abberline, opium abuser, brooding widower, and inspector, on the Ripper case. Graham plays Mary Kelly, the ravishing lady-of-the-night who enraptures the morose3 detective. She drives him to risk everything to expose the conspiracy and corruption that cloak her would-be killer.
The film retells the story in all its graphic glory. Its dark imagery and forboding tone pervasively detail the struggle to survive not only Jack the Ripper, but also the degradation and hellish squalor4 of 19th-century London.
By the time he was 13, Johnny Depp was smoking and drinking heavily, abusing drugs, had been arrested for petty theft and vandalism,5 and had lost his virginity. From there, Depp took what would seem to be his destined path into rock and roll. He emerged as a competent guitarist and garage rocker with his band, The Kids, once supporting Iggy Pop, a well-known icon of self-abuse.
By the age of 22, Depp had married and divorced make-up artist Lori Ann Allison. Allison played a pivotal6 role in Depp’s success by encouraging him to take up acting and introducing him to the now hugely successful Nicolas Cage. Through Cage, Depp reluctantly accepted his first feature-film role. He played the hunky boyfriend devoured7 by a killer bed in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.
As Depp became more serious about his acting, more and more movie roles were cast his way. He only took parts that focused on his acting ability rather than his looks. Eventually, Depp gained respect with critically acclaimed performances in movies such as “Edward Scissorhands”, ”What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”, ”Donnie Brasco”, ”Sleepy Hollow”, and “Chocolat”.
After a roller-coaster ride of failed romances that were well-publicized in the United States, Depp has finally found stability with singer/actress Vanessa Paradis in France. He is currently promoting “From Hell” while experiencing the joys and virtues8 of parenthood.
1. trepidation n. 战栗，惊惶
2. dismemberment n. 肢解
3. morose a. 忧郁的
4. squalor n. 悲惨
5. vandalism n. 蓄意破坏
6. pivotal a. 枢纽的，重要的
7. devour v. 吞吃，吞没
8. virtue n. 美德
十三岁的时候，约翰尼·戴普就开始放肆地抽烟、酗酒、吸毒，还曾因轻微的盗窃罪和蓄意破坏罪而遭到逮捕，也失去了他的童贞。从此，戴普就走上了这条似乎命中注定的路，进入摇滚乐界。他成为“The Kids”乐队中出色的吉他手和“garage”（注）摇滚乐手，该乐队曾替颓废派的知名偶像Iggy Pop做过暖场演出。