Sin City

2006-03-30 13:19


Sin City is film noir infused with fantasy, taking place in a world where it is eternally nighttime and everything is drenched in rain and violence. Three stories weave together, occasionally overlapping, three tales about crime, love, loss, and being preternaturally tough.
In the most caustically dramatic segment, Mickey Rourke plays the fearlessly lovestruck Marv, a trenchcoat-clad beast who falls in love with prostitute Goldie (Jaime King) only to find her murdered by a demonic cannibal (Elijah Wood).

In another segment, Bruce Willis plays Hartigan, a rogue cop with a "bum ticker" whose goal in life is to save Nancy (Jessica Alba), an innocent stripper, from a murderous rapist (Nick Stahl).

The third segment stars Clive Owen as a detective caught between murdered cop Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) and a slew of lethally dangerous vixens lead by Gail (Rosario Dawson).


"Masterpiece" is a word that's been overused by the modern media. It should be reserved for works of startling power, of intricate craftsmanship and, above all, of expansive originality. Well, Sin City is certainly a masterpiece in the old sense of the world. The film may shock some, alienate others and even bore a few - but there's one thing you can't deny about Sin City - you've never seen anything quite like this before.

The root of the film's brilliance is in two extraordinary artists: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. As one of the most gifted comics artists alive today, Miller has been credited with single-handedly reviving the Batman franchise with the seminal graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. His Sin City graphic novels are amongst the most celebrated in the history of the form. Recognising the power of the material, rogue genius and maverick director Robert Rodriguez literally hunted Miller down, going to extraordinary lengths to get his permission to adapt Sin City to film.

Though Miller was reluctant at first, it was Rodriguez' determination to "translate" rather than adapt the work to the screen - to literally take every frame of the graphic novel and make them come alive on screen - that eventually convinced Miller. Rodriguez was also determined to share the directing process with Miller and even resigned from the politically powerful Directors Guild when they tried to stop him.

Another vital element in Sin City's extraordinary originality is its bold use of technology. As soon as he began planning the project Rodriguez realised he would never be able to shoot Sin City using physical sets - the lighting and camera movements demanded by Miller's vision were physically impossible. Undaunted Rodriguez decided to shoot the entire movie on green screen and literally paint in the backdrops afterwards. While this isn't a new technology, few directors would be bold enough to make an entire film using it. (One recent example is Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - though it lacks the visceral power of Sin City)

This technology also allowed Rodriguez to mimic Miller's signature black and white visual style, occasionally allowing hints of brilliant colour to come through to breathtaking effect. As you watch the film you are frequently struck by the feeling of being inside Miller's work - a feeling that is as disturbing as it is captivating.

The film is gifted with some strong performances by its all-star cast. Mickey Rourke is excellent as the unstoppable and unflappable Marv, proving what critics have always said about him - that he belongs in the era of the hard-boiled gangster movie. Clive Owen excels in his role as Dwight, a good man caught in the middle of some bad trouble. Benicio Del Toro gives a marvellously menacing performance as the sleazy cop Jackie Boy, and Elijah Wood is equally good as a silent but psychotic cannibal named Kevin. Only Bruce Willis disappoints as the principled cop Hardigan. Audiences will have a hard time believing his character is a 65-year-old retiree, not to mention the fact that he is simply outshone by his supporting cast.

But in the end it's the source material that really lifts the film above the throng of other comic book adaptations. In a world where sentimentality rules the roost, and loveable anti-heroes have become a cliche, Miller's hard-boiled and uncompromising vision is like a breath of fresh air. His anti-heroes aren't loveable - they're tough, mean and unapologetic about their flaws. Sin City is all style - cold, remote and carefully posed - there's nothing naturalistic about it. Miller has reclaimed the dark side of humanity from modern Hollywood's relentless flippancy and put it back where it belongs - skulking along a back alley, waiting to pounce.

- Alistair Fairweather

Violence becomes art in Robert Rodriguez' bloody, beautiful and brilliant adaptation of Frank Miller's iconic graphic novel series. Its hard-boiled film noir style may not appeal to everyone but there's no arguing with the movie's visceral power or its visual mastery.

Alan 2005/10/07 2:50 PM
Masterpiece A friend of mine bought the DVD for me while overseas!! This is a must for any collection and is destined to become a classic. A movie Frank Miller would be proud of. Unfortunately, it is not for the mainstream or those who do not now the Sin City series.
Riaan 2005/10/10 12:32 PM
Sincity This was definatively the worst movie I've ever seen. Luckely my friend payed for me otherwise I would have asked for my money back. To me it was a waste of time! Stealth
Tyronne 2005/10/11 6:31 PM
Brilliant Sin City is brilliant. While it's not for everyone, no one can deny the Uniqueness of the movie and skill involved in making it. Riaan I cannot understand how you can say Sin City is a waste of money and time and recommend Stealth: a bland, boring movie with mediocre acting and lacking any real. It’s an action movie where there is not enough action to redeem the lack of an intelligent plot. Being John Malkovich
anthea 2005/10/14 11:15 AM
WOW WOW WOW What a brilliant movie,something completely different.This movie kept me enthralled to the end,wanted to see more! seven
Deena 2005/10/16 10:38 AM
Great, but... This was a fantastic film. It was dramatic, violent and brilliantly conceptualised - but it is not the masterpiece others claim it is. For a mob movie, see Reservoir Dogs or Mean Streets, for a comic book adaptation see the new Batman, or X2. For the in-between see Sin City. Pulp Fiction
boykieo 2005/10/16 8:35 PM
Sin City Sin City Ace Ventura
AKi 2005/10/17 2:39 PM
What? this movie had no point. I was confused from the time it started till the time it finished. Great cinematic effects and a brilliant dipiction of ythe novel but some things are not ment to be made into movies!this can join the evergrowing list of comic flops as i am concered! if you enjoyed this ur SAD!
Daniela 2005/10/21 10:43 PM
Sin City!!!! It was an awesome movie it keept me up and wanting more the weirdness of the movie captivates you no matter what mood you are has a great cast of all time favorite actors from young hotties to the old time favourites.If youre the type of person that hates vilence then watch the following:For a good night out with your girls "sisterhood of the travelling pants",For comedy it has to be "Hitch", For little kids "the Pacifier".
Rome 2006/01/06 7:55 AM
A+ Mickey Rourke is excellent.This movie brings acting back to basics.It is dark and a bit violent,but has romance,love and some comedy to round of the cartoon strip. Aki should watch it again if he does not get the point!! Frank Miller,Well Done!!!! Sin City 2
GODWIN 2006/11/26 12:59 PM
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