A doctor. An artist. A prince. A family man. Who is the real Jack the Ripper?
Elise Kirk and Patrick Prentice's documentary,'Is it Real? Jack the Ripper' explores the identity of the notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper. They present their perspectives about the case through a variety of unique film techniques and examine the suspects, the artist Walter Sickert and the occultist Robert Stephenson. The style of the film is research-based and considers different theories that are analysed by modern technology. Showcased by National Geographic, it is the unique re-enactment of the 1888 murders and consideration of the different theories that make it a success work. The message of the documentary successfully reinforces the mystery of Jack the Rippers identity and allows the audience to make their own interpretation of who the murderer may be.
The writers have explored the suspect, the artist, Walter Sickert mainly through the film techniques re-enactments, voiceovers, Opacity and camera angles. After Jack the Ripper killed 5 victims the police received hundreds of letters from people claiming to be Jack the Ripper. Walter Sickert was a primary suspect due to handwriting analysis and letter examination. The cameraman used the tracking shot to film the examiner who compared Sickerts and rippers letters. The film introduces the theorists, authors and researchers through a Voiceover and also used a medium close up shot while they interviewing them. This close up shot creates a sense of realism and seriousness to the issue making it sound more legitimate. This theory proves that Sickert would have written some of the Rippers letter because the handwriting was similar and the letters material and watermark were the same. The writers prove this theory successfully to the audience by using evidence from modern technology.
The writers used re-enactments to show how the victims were killed, while the actor Jack the Ripper was mutilating through victims the director used an editing format called Opacity. A transparent face of the victim appears during the re-enactment of the killings and talked about how she was mutilated. This meant that her organs were ripped out hence earning the name jack the ripper. This editing made the audience feel as if a ghost of the victim was talking to them. The method Kirk and Prentice's used when interviewing and explaining makes the audience realise how realistic Jack the Ripper murders were.
The writers of the documentary also considered another suspect