Frank Miller’s Sin City
I actually did this review last year, but for my other blog. I edited it to match the other reviews on this blog.
Title: Frank Miller’s Sin City
Director: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (and Quentin Tarantino for one small scene)*
Starring Cast: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson
Rated: A nice, big, fat R
Reel Reviews Rating:
Sin City is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novels of the same name. There are actually 3 separate plots (from 3 of Miller’s graphic novels) that are not really connected, except that you sometimes see a character from one story appear in another story. What unifies the three stories, however, is that they all take place in Basin City, which is pretty much an analogy of Hell. Basin City is controlled by a corrupt senator and a bishop, extremely powerful men who are not to be messed with. They pretty much own everyone in the city, and the police can’t do anything about it since they’re also corrupt. The three main characters in the stories- played by Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and Clive Owen- are not your typical heroes. They all have specific strengths and weaknesses. In the sea of corruption that is Basin City, they struggle to stay morally afloat, but they end up in circumstances that test their morality and devotion to their friends.
While most comic book movie adaptations try to stay true to its origins, many are compromised due to factors such as time constraints, the director’s artistic freedoms, and the desire to capture a larger (read: PG-13) audience. However, Sin City breaks away from these restraints since Miller himself co-directed the movie (with Robert Rodriguez), thus preserving nearly every detail of his graphic novels. The movie nearly captures the graphic novels frame by frame, and each of these frames is visually stunning. Much like Bound and The Matrix, Sin City is filmed as if it came straight from a comic book, and the use of black and white with splashes of color make this film all the more visually and artistically gorgeous.
That being said, I’ll be straight up with you all: it’s violent.
It’s really, really violent.
Violent and visceral.
I thought Braveheart was bad. I thought that Saving Private Ryan , Starship Troopers, and the Kill Bills were bad.
There are lots and lots of guns and explosions. Swords neatly slice body parts, and people are literally beaten to a bloody pulp. I won’t even mention the more disturbing scenes. At the same time, in a way the black and white appearance of the movie offsets some of the violence, like the badass “Crazy 88s” scene in Kill Bill: Volume 1 where The Bride fights O-ren Ishii’s army. Furthermore, in my opinion, Sin City is still not as violent as the many horror films out there. The Howling franchise is definitely grosser.
A cool thing when you watch this film is that, although it contains an all-star cast, most are so convincing in their roles that you don’t see them as the actors but rather, as the characters they play. Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke in particular are excellent in their roles as a grizzled old cop and an brutish ex-con, respectively. I didn’t even realize that it was Mickey Rourke until my boyfriend pointed out his squinty eyes. If Pulp Fiction brought John Travolta’s career back to life, I believe that this movie will resurrect Rourke’s own dead career.
Most of the supporting cast is as good. Their roles were small, but highly effective. The actresses played their parts relatively well. They were also all gorgeous, sexy, and hot. Yes, Jessica Alba did a great job portraying a stripper who doesn’t take her clothes off. I know that this goes against the graphic novel, but get over it, fanboys. What intrigued me the most is that several actors played against type. Elijah Wood is unbelievably scary and disturbing as Kevin. He completely destroyed his Frodo image with this role.
Overall, I enjoyed Sin City in spite of its excessive violence. It’s creative, visually and artistically breathtaking, and the actors do a terrific job (except for Brittany Murphy. She sucks). If you’re a Frank Miller fan, then I’m preaching to the choir since you obviously have this DVD by now. If you can take violence, and horror movies, then go rent/buy it. If you don’t like violent movies, then still see this movie and appreciate it for its artistry, but cover your eyes during the more violent, grosser scenes.
*FUN FACT: Tarantino directed a small scene in Sin City for $1 as payment for Rodriguez doing the score for Kill Bill: Volume 2 for the same price. If you’re familiar with Tarantino’s work, you can easily guess which scene he directed.
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