Sin City

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Nudity and Violence Get a Unique Look in Sin City

Jul 30, 2010 (Updated Jul 30, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interesting stories.  Unique images.  

Cons:Very violent at times.  

The Bottom Line: Sin City is a different sort of movie that is entertaining.  The movie isn't for everyone though.


I remember being sort of interested in seeing Sin City when it came out, though I wasn't sure what to expect from the movie.  I eventually rented the movie and enjoyed it overall.  

Sin City is based on stories from the Dark Horse graphic novel series Sin City by Frank Miller.  I've never read the graphic novels, but I have read that the movie stays very true to the original stories.  I have been reading that two sequels are planned for a while, but as far as I know, production hasn't started on either of them yet.

The theatrical version of Sin City shows the four stories somewhat intermingled with each other.  A few scenes do overlap between the different stories.  That version of the movie is the version I saw several years ago on DVD.  A special edition version DVD was released that has a longer uncut version of the movie.  There is also a Blu-ray version that contains the same versions as the special edition.  I picked up the Blu-ray version recently when I found it on sale and I watched the Recut, Unrated, Extended version of the movie this time.  Some deleted scenes have been added back in and each of the four stories is presented completely without the intermingling that happens in the theatrical version.  Characters from the other stories are still seen, and some scenes are in more than one story.  Watching the movie as four completely separate stories does mess with the flow at times, and a few events are seen out of order.  For example, a scene from the end of the theatrical version ends up being shown very early in the extended version without any explanation for why something is happening.  Because of that, a few things may end up being confusing.

That Yellow Bastard is about a cop, Hartigan, trying to save a young girl named Nancy from Roark Jr., a child serial killer.  Years later, Hartigan is once again trying to protect Nancy.  The Customer is Always Right has a man and woman spend a few minutes talking on a balcony.  In The Hard Goodbye, Marv spends the night with the beautiful Goldie, only to wake up in the morning and discover that she's dead.  Marv then sets out to avenge her death.  In The Big Fat Kill, Dwight decides to deal with Jackie Boy, the abusive ex-boyfriend of Shellie.  What happens ultimately threatens a truce between the police and the prostitutes of Old Town and opens the door for the mob to move in and take over.

It is clear from the very beginning that Sin City is different.  The movie has a very unique look because of the way it was filmed.  Most of the locations are created digitally, and the actors were filmed in front of green screens.  The movie is mostly in black and white, with only a few splashes of color being used in certain spots.  Color is added at different times to articles of clothing, character eyes, and vehicles.  The bright splashes of color do add emphasis to certain things, though it is also a slightly odd look that not everyone will appreciate.  That does give the movie a very unique look, and it does definitely have a comic book look.  

The theatrical and the extended versions of Sin City begin a bit differently, but it doesn't take long for violence to turn up in either one.  This movie is extremely violent, which will turn some viewers off.  There are shootings, fights, an execution and dismemberment in various scenes.  Cannibalism is brought up as well, though it isn't shown.  Several disturbing things happen, and some of those things are more difficult to see.  The violence does get brutal in some places.  A few things are rather gory, though the way the coloring is done lessens the impact slightly.  At times, the blood is white instead of red.  The movie definitely deserved the R rating and isn't a movie that children should see.  Since it has been so long since I last saw the theatrical version, I'm not sure if the added scenes in the extended version add more violence or not.  I think at least some of the added scenes do, but I could be wrong.  The extended version is unrated and it is also not a movie for children.

None of the stories told in Sin City are happy in any way.  They are all dark and somewhat depressing in some way.  The stories will more than likely be too dark for some viewers.  Most of what happens is twisted in some way.  Basin City, the fictional city where the movie is set, is full of crime and corruption.  Even the characters that are sort of heroes are twisted in some way, being criminals or corrupt most of the time.  The different stories deal with some very upsetting and disturbing things, so this definitely isn't a movie for everyone.  Each story is independent from the others, though they are all set in Basin City and few characters or events briefly overlap.  For each story or section of the movie, a male character provides a voice over.  The voice overs do help to further explain a few things.

Sex does sort of play a part in what is going on in Sin City even though there aren't really a lot of sex scenes in the movie.  Several of the female characters are prostitutes and a few things about their work is mentioned.  Those characters do wear very revealing outfits that show off a lot of skin.  Sex plays more of a part in Marv's story since his having sex with Goldie motivates him to avenge her death.  The short sex scene in that story doesn't show a lot, though Goldie's bare breasts are shown.  Another woman, Lucille, is shown almost completely naked in that story as well.  The older Nancy works as a dancer and while her outfits are skimpy and she moves suggestively when dancing, she is never topless.  During one scene when she is dancing, she is shown in slow motion.  That emphasizes the sexual nature of the movements she is making with her dance.

There is a large group of characters in Sin City, some of which are more important and developed than others.  The first time he is shown, Hartigan is a cop on his last day of work before early retirement because of a heart problem.  He is determined to save Nancy no matter what he has to do.  Bruce Willis is good in the part.  Nancy is first shown as a young girl and then as a young woman after the story jumps forward eight years.  She is portrayed as slightly too good to be true, especially considering all the corruption that surrounds her.  She seems nice enough, though there isn't a lot of development for her.  Jessica Alba is fine, though nothing special in the part.  It seems like her main job is to add some sex appeal, though she doesn't get naked.        
Roark Jr. is the demented child serial killer who threatens Nancy more than once.  He has gotten away with his crimes for so long because his father is a very powerful and influential man.  Nick Stahl does well with the part.  Powers Boothe turns up in a few short scenes as Senator Roark.  He just cares about protecting the legacy of his family and he isn't concerned with the crimes his son has committed.  Even though he actually isn't in a lot of the movie, he is one of the more twisted characters in some ways.  The male character in The Customer is Always Right isn't identified by name.  I think he is just called the Man in the credits, though in double checking some information about the movie, I've seen him referred to by other things.  He is just in two short sequences, so Josh Hartnett doesn't have a lot to do, but he does well with the part.  The woman from the story is just called the Customer.  Mary Shelton doesn't get that much to do.

Marv has evidently served time since he has a parole officer, though I don't remember hearing what he did.  He is a large, unattractive man, so the fact that Goldie comes on to him means a lot to him.  That motivates him to track down her killer and avenge her death.  He isn't a typical hero, though he isn't completely bad either.  Mickey Rourke does a really good job in the part.  Goldie is barely seen alive, but her presence is still felt since her murder is the reason for what Marv does.  Jamie King does fine with the part and also turns up as Goldie's twin sister Wendy.

Lucille is Marv's parole officer.  She helps him and tries to offer him advice that he ignores.  Carla Gugino doesn't have a lot to do in the movie.  Kevin is a creepy mute who is involved in what is going on.  Since he doesn't talk, Elijah Wood doesn't have a lot to do, but he still makes the character creepy.  Rutger Hauer turns up in a short scene as Cardinal Roark, someone else mixed up in what is happening.  

Shellie is a young woman who works as a waitress the same place where Nancy dances.  Shellie had been involved with Jackie Boy, a very abusive man.  Brittany Murphy does fine with the part.  Jackie Boy is a very twisted, abusive man who thinks he can do whatever he wants.  He is a huge creep.  Benico Del Torro does fine with the part.  Some men are with Jackie Boy when he shows up causing some trouble with Shellie.  The other men don't stand out and don't do much.  

Dwight is with Shellie when Jackie Boy shows up.  Dwight is not happy with what Jackie Boy is doing and decides to deal with the situation.  Dwight has a questionable past and he is quick to turn to violence.  Clive Owen is fine in the part.  Gail is the leader of the prostitutes in Old Town.  The women basically run that area of town and it seems like all of them are proficient with some type of weapon.  Rosario Dawson is fine as Gail.  Miho is probably the most deadly of the women with all the weapons she uses.   Becky is a young woman who doesn't seem to have been a prostitute that long.  Devon Aoki and Alexis Bledel are fine in the parts.  Several other characters are around throughout the movie without them really doing much.  Frank Miller turns up in a small part.

Main Cast

Jessica Alba - Nancy
Devon Aoki - Miho
Alexis Bledel - Becky
Powers Boothe - Senator Roark
Rosario Dawson - Gail
Benico Del Torro - Jackie Boy
Carla Gugino - Lucille
Josh Hartnett - The Man
Rutger Hauer - Cardinal Roark
Jamie King - Goldie/Wendy
Brittany Murphy - Shellie
Clive Owen - Dwight
Mickey Rourke - Marv
Mary Shelton - The Customer
Nick Stahl - Roark Jr.
Bruce Willis - Hartigan
Elijah Wood - Kevin

Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller - Directors
Quinton Tarantino is a special guest director for one scene.

Blu-ray Information

In addition to having both versions of Sin City, the Blu-ray also includes some extras that focus on different aspects of making the movie.  They feature Rodriguez, Miller, and Tarantino talking about the movie as well as some of the cast.  The make up done for Marv and some other characters is discussed and there is footage of the make up being applied.  The adaptation is discussed a little bit, and some panels from the graphic novels are shown.  I think one of them features a topless Nancy, something that isn't seen in the movie.  Those extras are interesting.  There is also an interactive comic book and commentaries.  

Sin City is an entertaining movie with a unique look.  The movie is very dark and twisted, and definitely not for everyone.

This review is part of elvisdo's 2010 Funny Pages Write Off.

Dark Horse Comic Book Movies
Barb Wire ~ Hellboy Hellboy II: The Golden Army ~ Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron ~ Hellboy Animated - Sword of Storms ~


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD

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