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WHITECHAPEL
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: SJ Clarkson

Starring:
Philip Davis
Rupert Penry-Jones
Steve Pemberton

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Detective Joe Chandler is an up and comer in the homicide department who's been given a particularly interesting case. Seems there's a copycat killer out there who has been recreating the murders of Jack the Ripper. He clashes with the police in Whitechapel, who don't think he's up to the task. Can Chandler crack the case?
Is it good movie?
Obviously, this flick is built on the premise of catching Jack the Ripper with modern day technology and forensic know-how. I'd like to say that this idea sounds more exciting than it is. See, if historical accuracy exists (and according to this show, it does) then this copycat should have been easy to catch. If police know the sequence in which the Ripper took his victims, as well as the method and especially the place, shouldn't they just be able to show up and cart the guy's arse in? It just seems to make the guy look stupid. They're literally anticipating the final fifth murder in the sequence, as it was the nastiest one of all and it all plays out like a run against the clock. But I suppose I protest too much.

This sort of runs like a long TV movie, playing in three 45 minute episodes. That being said, it moves pretty well although the idea isn't exactly a novel one. The dialogue is quite crisp and intelligent and there's a lot of attention paid to fleshing out the characters somewhat. I'd be a fool not to mention that the cast here is game and capable, with almost everyone uniformly pulling their weight. Watching Chandler interact with the "Ripperologist" Edward Buchan (played by Steve Pemberton) is quite entertaining, and the guy steals the show.

Still though, despite being well staged, everything feels just a bit too familiar. The whole "this kid is out of his league" thing, which leads to infighting within the team. Even Chandler himself seems to inherit his quirkiness from other procedural dramas, like his neat-freakiness (Monk, anyone?). It just feels a bit pat.

Ultimately, Whitechapel is a bit of a mixed bag. At the end of the day, I likely wouldn't have watched past the first episode, had I not been tasked with reviewing it. It all just felt too familiar and a bit boring to me. For the right person though, this is a fine way to pass an hour or three.
Video / Audio
This one is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and looks pretty decent, if not a bit washed out. The show's stylish look screams "HD", but I got a DVD version so I must make due.

Audio is less impressive, sporting only a 2.0 stereo mix.
The Extras
The only meat here is a half hour EPK called Peeling Back the Layers which is actually pretty interesting and informative, giving lots of info and stuff about the real Ripper and making of the show.
Last Call
Whitechapel is acceptable entertainment that feels a little dull and forgettable in the end. I'd recommend it only to Ripper enthusiasts and crime drama lovers who really haven't seen it all.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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