Cert: 18 Runtime: 124 mins Director: Robert Rodriguez Cast: Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy
Turn the right corner in Sin City and you can find anything
Sin City was one of the movies that really got me interested in cinema. This film introduced me to Frank Miller and this amazing world he created. From their I have read many of his other works such as 3oo, Daredevil and his run at Batman. But the Sin City series is my favourite of them all. So what is Sin City about? The film weaves together three overlapping stories, the best of them involves the disfigured vigilante Marv (Mickey Rourke) who goes on a murdering crusade in pursuit of the person who killed his beloved Goldie (Jamie King). Another story centres on Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a weary cop with a dodgy ticker. After saving an 11-year-old girl from the clutches of a well-connected paedophile (Nick Stahl), Hartigan takes the rap. He emerges after doing time and goes in search of the now grown up girl (Jessica Alba), but has to deal with her molester who has transformed into a grotesque yellow creature. The third story involves Dwight (Clive Owen) who protects a leather-clad Gail (Rosario Dawson) and her band of hookers from a corrupt cop (Benecio Del Toro).Sin City is a dangerous place to live. It ranks on a par with an old people’s home in terms of life expectancy.
It’s a churning vat of old fashioned pulp style stories, each one more dark and edgy then the last. And yet, Sin City itself is morbidly fascinating; if you don’t mind delving through the haze of sleaze, violence and corruption you’ll find a really compelling story underneath the hard exterior. Sin City exudes the essence of classic film noir, except combined with over-the-top violence, characters and dialogue to maintain that comic book feel. Giving co-director status to creator Frank Miller and allowing him to write the screenplay was perhaps the wisest move director Robert Rodriguez ever made, because Miller’s gritty influence shines through, perfectly capturing the mood of his original creations.And the visuals… extraordinary. The entire film is shot in black and white, except for certain items which appear in colour. Rodriguez is also smart enough to use a green screen backdrop, so as to recreate Miller’s gritty, moody sets by computer animation instead of trying to create them first hand. And it works, wonderfully – the sets perfectly set the tone for the rest of the movie: dark, bold, over-the-top and quality work unlike any other. Add the characters’ noirish costumes unique appearances, and movement. Take note that if the movie was paused at any given point, the frame would look like a panel from a comic book and Miller and Rodriguez perfectly nail the comic book feel.
It also helps that a wonderful cast has been assembled to bring life to the mayhem. Spot on performances abroad here, but the stand outs in my opinion were Elijah Wood, who was truly chilling as Kevin, the silent, cannibalistic serial killer; Nick Stahl as Roarke Junior/Yellow Bastard, a truly creepy and disgusting character; Clive Owen, playing against type as Dwight; Mickey Rourke as Marv, managing to turn out a stunning performance, even with his face buried under several layers of latex; Benicio Del Toro almost unrecognizable as corrupt cop Jackie Boy and a welcome appearance from Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute, an enforcer specializing in inflicting pain. The hard edged ladies also do a great job, with Jessica Alba, Rosiaro Dawson, Carla Gugino, Jamie King and the rest all giving great performances.It’s all in the style of such films as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, so it may be wise to use those films as guidelines of what to expect in terms of content. It’s true that Sin City is not for everyone: the violence is brutal and unflinching, most characters are disreputable, manipulative and sleazy, and the whole feel of the film is undesirable, and not too cheery. But if none of that deters you, Sin City should be known as a must see, for the superb visual stylistics if nothing else.