Following on from the earlier ramble about the forthcoming Watchmen film (which may or may not happen) we rifled through our DVD collection and dragged out The Hughes Brothers 2001 adaptation of From Hell – another Alan Moore graphic novel adaptation, this one about Jack the Ripper.
Given that the book is nearly 600 pages long, it’s not surprising that the film adaptation loses several plot points, and is very liberal with the narrative; the film is more of a Victorian whodunnit, whereas Moore and artist Eddie Campbell practically reveal the identify of the Ripper within the first few pages.
Nevertheless, the film is an enjoyable romp, whether you’ve read the book or not. The violence is delivered with the same trademark Hughes Brothers style, and despite the claret (of which there is quite a lot) none of the nastiness ever feels obtuse or gratuitous – the Victorian London created in From Hell is a vision of putrescence, overflowing gutters, gin palaces and gas lamps around which the fleas and flies dance inbetween feasting on the bodies of murderees.
Killings are all too common in Whitechapel, and so it takes a particularly vicious and brutal slaying of a ‘bang-tail’, for its residents to sit up and take notice; “it was the way she was done,” which draws the attentions of Inspector Abberline (Johnny Depp), a character based on the real police Inspector who followed up the Ripper murders in 1888.