Sin City

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Givin’ em the Hard Goodbye: Sin City

Jan 5, 2006 (Updated Jan 6, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cinematography, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, some good wisecracks

Cons:Story - mishmash of styles with no discernable taste exercised, generally inane dialog

The Bottom Line: Sin City is great visually but a poor story. Not enough sex to be good porn, not realistic enough violence either; A filmed comic book aimed at 14 year-old boys.


Sin City (2005)

“Worth dyin’ for. Worth going to hell for.” Marv

Sometimes a movie can be like what they say about eating Chinese food; good while it lasts, but in an hour, you’re hungry again. That was the exact impression I had while watching the recently released DVD of Sin City, lots of thrills, but when it was over I was wondering if the time spent to watch it was worth it.

A joint effort of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, author of the graphic novels (read comic books), Sin City is impressive as hell when I put on my 14 year-old hat - all guys got ‘em; we never grow up - but nonetheless even thinking like a 14 year-old, I felt the movie had a hollow core.

Sure, the movie is full of guns (+) and violence (+) and luscious women (+) in various stages of undress(++) , but where was the story? Well, OK, there are three separate story threads going on but nothing that hasn’t been done before and better.

I haven’t read any of the comic books - um, OK graphic novels so maybe I’m being a little hard on the movie. But, if the comic books are as poorly written as the screenplay I wouldn’t be satisfied with them, either.

There is no question that the visuals are impressive - real actors in a CGI universe, filmed in gritty black and white with the occasional splash of primary color. The bar has definitely been raised in the area of melding live action and CGI, but the violence was for the most part cartoonish and I found the comic relief touches awkward; and where in the hell do they get off including Japanese samurai sword fighters in action movies nowadays? I have to stop thinking of this melange of Quentin Tarantino-style 14 year-old masturbatory fantasy before I hurl. OK I like porn - I like violence, but I like it unadulterated. Give it to me straight. This movie tried to include every known taboo and fetish, including cannibalism, in the crazy mishmash that filled the two-hour running time.

The acting, from a bevy of “name” actors was variable. Bruce Willis (a cop) and Mickey Rourke (a Neanderthal thug) were absolutely brilliant in their segments. Jessica Alba (go go dancer) and Rosario Dawson as a big-haired prostitute were also notable, as was Carla Gugino as a lesbian probation officer - what 14 year-old boy couldn’t identify with a naked woman clearing her apartment of prowlers with a .357 magnum?

Benicio Del Toro, whom I usually like, was disappointing in a weakly-written sleaze ball role whose character goes around for half of his screen time with a 45 automatic pistol slide jammed into his forehead. Michael Clarke Duncan also was disappointing as a thug with an ill-fitting puree boulder for a glass eye. I also had a hard time believing Clive Owen was a real tough customer - no credibility in his performance. Rutger Hauer - a great actor - was absolutely wasted in an inane soliloquy that added nothing to the story.

Perhaps the biggest problem was there really wasn’t a lot of differentiation between the characters, all were tough, violent, and smartass, so it became boring after a while. Not everybody is Humphrey Bogart and variety is the spice of life. These were probably mainly faults with Frank Miller’s screenplay, as I’ve seen all these actors put down awe-inspiring performances, elsewhere. The dialog, apart from the screenplay, has its moments, with quite a few memorable one-liners that will give the viewer a kick, but many inane passages that muffle the punch of the good parts.

Maybe that’s the appeal of Sin City, an endless smorgasbord of violence - car wrecks, beheadings, nakedness, and darkness with very little plot. Robert Rodriguez definitely has the style to put together a great motion picture - all he needs is a story.

Those who found Sin City compelling will also want to see

1,000,000 Years BC

Pulp Fiction

Thanks for reading!


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