Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sin City Is Delightfully Sinful

My sister and I saw Frank Miller's Sin City early Saturday afternoon. There are a lot of adjectives I can use to describe this film: Violent, Gory, Innovative, Lurid, Wild, Thrilling, Shocking, Gross, Perverse, Sick, Twisted, Stylish, Beautiful...

But one adjective that I cannot use to describe this film is boring...because that is the one thing that Sin City isn't.

I haven't had such a fun time watching something so violent and perverse since I first saw the Kill Bill films. The look of the film is the first thing you notice. The combination of black and white with occasional splashes of very obvious color is wonderful. This movie, just like the graphic novel, comes as close to "pure" black and white I could imagine. The digital effects work is top-notch. Just about every single element of the look of this film is just about perfect.

While the look draws you in, it's the stories that keep you intrigued for a little over two hours. Inspired greatly by film noir, the three stories in this film are strange, perverted, twisted, and actually fun to watch. They feature Bruce Willis as a cop trying to protect a girl from a serial rapist/killer, Mickey Rourke as a murderous (possible) maniac who tries to figure out who killed a beautiful hooker who showed him kindness, and Clive Owen as a murderer with a new face who tries to stem off a potential war between the police and a neighborhood run entirely by hookers. Josh Hartnett bookends the film in a way that I won't reveal. These stories contain shocking elements and twists as they go along. Quentin Tarantino's guest directed scene takes place during Clive Owen's story and has him in a car with Benicio Del Toro. That's all I will say about that. Even as you watch such shocking acts as heads being chopped off, people being shot numerous times, and a man having his head pushed into the same toliet he just urinated into, you smile and guiltily enjoy yourself. You root for characters that are just as twisted as the people they are fighting against. The movie shocks without disgusting you. It finds dark humor wherever it can. It's almost unbelievable that such stories got made into a film at all.

What make the stories entertaining and believable (in the world of the film) are the performances of the actors. The all-star cast finds the perfect note for their performances. They are over the top but played completely straight. The best performances in the film are from two grizzled Hollywood vets, Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke. Bruce Willis is perfectly cast as Hartigan the cop. The role features parallels with his own persona. However, the revelation of the movie is definitely the unrecognizable Mickey Rourke as Marv. As Marv, Rourke is tough, mean, and downright sadistic in his quest to find the killer of his beloved woman Goldie. However, Rourke also makes Marv likable despite all this. If the Academy weren't so stuck up, I'd say that he could (and should) be nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Sin City is a movie that you will either love or hate. It's clearly not for everyone. And under no circumstances should any parent take a young child to see it. This is a movie for those 18 and over, plain and simple. If the violence in this film was portrayed in a very realistic manner, it would be NC-17 rated for sure. However, if you liked films such as Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Desperado, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, or if you're a fan of classic film noir movies, then this is right up your alley. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller should be commended for bringing such a bold and unique vision to the big screen. I can say with much certainty that there hasn't been a film like this before. Here's hoping that Rodriguez and Miller collaborate to bring more Sin City to the big screen in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, now I have to see it. Great post man..