Sin City

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Frank Miller's Sin City --- A wonder for the eye, but not the mind

Apr 26, 2005 (Updated Apr 26, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:well acted, adventurous story, innovative film

Cons:over-abundance of violence, nothing at its core

The Bottom Line: Sin City is a great film visually, but really lacks that certain something that makes films truly great.


To be sure, Sin City really is a feast for the eyes, and is a wonderfully presented film. That being said, there are some fatal flaws that really keep it from being anything more than a comic book on the big screen. Frank Miller brought us something brand new in the spectrum, with a film shot 100% on a green screen, and we have come away with something that is not entirely bad, but really lacks that extra ingredient that could have really put it over the top. They didn't really skimp on the actors here though, as we were graced with the likes of Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, Jessica Alba, and Clive Owen just to name a few. The actors do all they can, and should be given extra points for making the movie come alive without a set.

The basis of Sin City, is really three separate stories (that of course intertwine) about three different groups of characters. We are shown the back streets of Basin City, and these are the people that live their lives there. First, we have Bruce Willis, a hardened detective chasing a serial rapist through the jungles of downtown. Second, we have Mickey Rourke playing Marv, who is a hard-nosed man, who has finally seen what his heaven is like. It lies in the form of a woman who has given him respect, and he will do anything to avenge her death, which takes place next to him in his own bed. The third story starts with Clive Owen's character, but evolves into a story about what takes place in a certain part of the city where women run everything. Each one of these three stories revolves around the characters abilities to deal with their surroundings using every bit of violence they can muster.

When I mention violence, you might as well consider it a character in the film, because it gets more screen time than anyone else involved. There are though, people with which the audience starts to root for the violence to be used upon. We are drawn into some of the stories, and the attempt is made to show us that some things cannot be completely solved with words alone. This ranges from castration, to beheadings, and many, many murders during the duration of the film. Nothing is off limits, as we are treated to a bloodbath that simply had to have Quentin Terentino as a guest director in it. Don't think me a prude for pointing all of this out, but it stares you in the face, and if you have a weak stomach then it is a good reason to avoid this film.

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez really brought something original to the big screen with this picture. Extra points are given for the creative way that scenes are carried out, and for how emotions are portrayed. One specific scene, where a car crash is shown in slow motion from the mind of Clive Owen really stood out for me. It was something I hadn't seen before, and it really put the audience into the moment. It was scenes like this that I am sure have won over a majority of the people who have seen this film, and there are many other extremely well-filmed scenes as well. To put it mildly, Sin City really is beautiful with its use of darkness and shadows. There is only a rare usage of color, and much like Spielberg did in Schindler's List, it is used to accentuate where something important is being said to the audience.

Despite everything that Sin City has going for it, I was disappointed in how it wrapped up its own stories, and the film did a terrible job at resolving plot-lines. Where we as the audience are required to "choose-our-own-adventure" at some points, the script fell a little flat when it came to making a point, or to concluding. Instead we have several short stories, that play out like a comic book, and in the end could have just as easily said "to be continued" on the screen. There were some great one-liners, and there were some really cool action sequences, but once you take a step back and look past the presentation, there is nothing at the center of this film. It is worth seeing that first time, but once that is done, the film doesn't remain as something great in your mind. With violence abundant, this is not a film for all ages, and there are themes where children should be kept away. The film is "pretty" good though, and is worth giving that first screening to, but will only live on through a cult following.



Recommend this product? Yes

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