Burton would be totally wrong for From Hell. I agree with Mike Spence: Moore’s From Hell eclipses Watchmen in almost every department (I still prefer Gibbons’s colour artwork to Eddie Campbell’s black and white, even though the latter complemented Moore’s writing perfectly, but that’s a personal thing). For me, From Hell is the greatest graphic novel and one of the greatest novels period.
As regards unsympathetic protagonists, how about Johnny (David Thewlis) in Mike Leigh’s Naked? First seen having violent sex with a woman in a dark alley – is it rape? – we are with him every step of the way, as he belittles everyone he meets. Louise (Lesley Sharp) has his number – she’s an ex-girlfriend who knows all about Johnny’s wasted intelligence and his faux-philosophical rants – but do we? Does Leigh want us to identify with Johnny? The addition of the yuppie landlord from hell – Greg Cruttwell’s Jeremy – who tends the imbalance the film with some OTT and implausible actions, might suggest he does.
Probably. The look of the film should have basically been akin to Lynch’s Elephant Man, which takes place in the same time period. It also should have been black and white. I understand that the Hughes brothers were working for a commercial studio but this really had the potential to garner Oscars and prestige, as well as “arthouse” money, which is what it probably made anyway. I have heard that the original script was closer to the GN so maybe the brothers just got the old Hollywood railroading.
If you like Moore’s other work you really should check out From Hell. The film is almost entirely different in tone and purpose, starting with it being a whodunnit. Moore’s initial interest in the project was based on avoiding the cliches inherent in Jack the Ripper films, as well as finally going in depth with the stories of the women he killed. From the first chapter of the GN we know who the killer is. The mystery lies n the “meaning” of his crimes and there impact on future society. The film has the Ripper babble something about the future but it just seems like the ravings of a madman. The tenth chapter of the book is one of the most unsettling things you’ll ever read.
Oh, and no prostitute at that time looked like Heather Graham.
@Miasma – I’m still not convinced that Alex is a protagonist though. By virtue of character (or rather, lack thereof) alone, all attributes point towards a “deviant” – the ultraviolence, the psychopathology, etc. However it is the genius of Burgess, and by extension Kubrick, to have this character be the MAIN character. We have no choice but to follow the author/director’s vision of following the narrative of this character from beginning to end, and thus naturally feeling a sort of connection with him, deviant or not.
Please correct me if I am wrong. I am under the impression that protagonist refers simply to the central/main character while antagonist/s refers to the character/s who prevent the protagonist from attaining his goal.
Artemis: By virtue of the structure of the novel, Alex is the protagonist, but I still love ironically calling him a sympathetic antagonist.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Naked but you’ve inspired me to want to check it out again.
I just watched Naked last night for the first time. Really, really good script. Everyone is loathsome, but aren’t we all?
My favorite bit was with the nightwatchman. Really good writing in that part.
Yes, Josh. I remember a bit where the nightwatchman says he is guarding space; Johnny replies something along the lines that that’s a bit silly because someone could break in, steal all the space, and the nightwatchman would be none the wiser…(which is almost exactly the same as Spike Milligan’s favourite joke about the guy who goes to the police station and complains that, while he was away on holidays his house was robbed: everything was taken and replaced by exact replicas…). Even his bit about the barcode and the Devil had me convinced almost. Almost.