Hey folks, Harry here with a slew of SIN CITY reviews. My email box has been being bombarded with these - and since so many of you seem to be going gaga for this - you should be given voice. I went through the nearly 32 reviews I've gotten thus far - thinning out the spoiler reviews - positive and negative - to help you folks have the best pure film experience with this film. There is one negative review here, it's the last one. These will be the last of the published non-AICN regular writers reviews. Moriarty should be reviewing soon - but he may hold his review till after his Rodriguez interview. But read with the confidence that this is spoiler-free work here. However, beware the talk backs - there's never a guarantee of what will be there, either in body or in headlines. Enjoy...
Hey there AICN!
I work at More Fun Comics in New Orleans. We got a call early this week inviting us to an advance press screening of Frank Miller's Sin City. I was quite excited to be granted such an opportunity and gleefully forced my girlfriend to wake up early in the morning and accompany me to the movies.
I thought I might have arrived too late to a full theater or a press frenzy, but after a quick search and metal detector pass, we went into an audience of maybe 30 people, half of whom I recognized as employees of nearby comic shops. The other half must have been their girlfriends. Lights dimmed and the film began.
The Review - Sin City by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
THE BAD NEWS: If you've read the three stories included in this movie, there is almost nothing in the film you haven't seen before.
THE GOOD NEWS: Fuck the Bad News. Whether you've read Sin City or not, this movie will kick your eyeballs' asses for two straight hours with innovative digital film technique, amazing visual design throughout, and one of the best ensemble casts in crime fiction brought to slavishly accurate life by an equally impressive group of actors who still manage to leave their own stamps on the characters.
As many of you know, the film combines three of Sin City's most popular storylines. A major surprise (for me, at least) is that the three stories are shown mostly whole, in the sequence they were published. "The Customer's Always Right" is followed by a credits sequence, then the opening scene of "That Yellow Bastard". This cuts straight to Marv and "The Hard Good-Bye", which cuts straight into "The Big Fat Kill", followed by the rest of "Yellow Bastard".
In the credits sequence, all of the principal actor's names are paired with popular images of their character taken directly from their appearance in a Frank Miller's comic book. This sets the pace for a devoted and freakishly accurate visual adaptation of the source material. I'm certain that Miller's presence on set accounts for the amazing visual style of the film, because while many filmmakers have tried to recreate Miller's lighting and composition in the past, none comes close to matching the amazing film environment created here.
Sin City is truly a character of its own and co-director Rodriguez deserves equal credit for being the technical filmmaker medium that channels Miller's supernatural talents. Each visual detail of the film, from the chiaroscuro rainfall to the shadows and bandages on Marv's ugly mug, right down to the floorboards of Shellie's apartment and Dwight's Chuck Taylor All-Stars, is both a fresh, new filmed image and a perfect reproduction of Miller's art. Doubtless, Rodriguez's adventurous digital filmmaking techniques and anything-goes attitude allowed the Miller style to be translated faithfully, but also with a new energy created by the motion and flow of film and the performances.
Oh, the performances. Bruce Willis's Hartigan frames the picture and I believe his is the performance the world-wide audience will respond to most. I've read each of these Sin City yarns at least five times and I still found myself a little choked-up during much of "Bastard" because of Bruce Willis. Mickey Rourke is horrifying, hilarious, and then heartbreaking as violent Marv. Dwight is as crazy and violent as Marv, but Clive Owen keeps him the coolest of the three. Although I openly hate some of Sin City's lead actresses, they all make excellent Frank Miller women: beautiful, intelligent, resourceful, and deadly. I could go on and praise Manute, Lump, Junior, Schlubb, Shutz, Stuka, Lenny, Benny, Bob, the IRA, KEVIN!!!, all three Roarks, Kevin's dog, Lucille, Dwight, Gail, Becky, Jackie-Boy, and all the rest...but I'll only say that they're all just about perfect. Look how much space was wasted just trying to list them all.
All three lead actors do their characters great justice, both visually and in personality. Each main character is a "two-time loser" seeking some redemption and proof that they are "worth a damn" to a female character(s). This might make for boring cookie-cutter performances, but the actors make choices based on Miller's original stories that set them far enough apart to let each character and his story be unique unto itself, exploring different aspects of the greater themes. All three are inclined to over-the-top violence, mild-to-severe psychosis, internal monologue, and the protection of wronged women.
Each of these seemingly identical traits is handled differently in each character, and these common patterns and themes, moreso than the situational crossovers we see onscreen, set both the social and moral scene of Sin City. In this way, Sin City is one of the best comic adaptations yet because the original creator was invited back to package the best of his work for a new audience.
If I had to make any complaints about the movie, I'd mention that the soundtrack occasionally dips into derivative orchestra stings and other tried-and true suspense/crime scoring style, but so what? Just like Marv's Zippo and Dwight's hardtop, the music places this new imaginary world in familiar territory.
All in all, I loved it and I feel that if the right audience finds this movie, it could be very successful, critically and comercially. If Miller and Rodriguez are planning to film other Sin City stories, I don't think it could happen soon enough and I hope they go on to adapt other of Frank Miller's work (see also: Daredevil, Ronin).
Call Me Spackle McCrackle and visit me at More Fun Comics in New Orleans!
Next we have Maxamillion...
I just got back from a press screening of Frank Miller's Sin City, and here are my thoughts.
This is unlike anything you've ever seen, picking up the pieces from Sky Captain's shattered mess. I mention Sky Captain only because of the style of the film - with the lack of sets, and computer generated cars.....but Sin City is a fully realized film, with much more substance than you would expect, unless of course you've read Miller's books.
"The Hard Goodbye," "The Big Fat Kill," and "Yellow Bastard" books are intertwined masterfully ala "Pulp Fiction" - a film the studio keeps mentioning whenever it sees an opportunity. But this is really a different animal, despite "Special Guest Director" Tarantino and Bruce Willis.
We open with Mary Shelton and Josh Hartnett, as the "customer" and "salesman" respectively, but this is a false start, a trick opening - an initiation, if you will, into the world of Basin (sin) City. The story truly gets going once we meet Cops Bruce Willis and Michael Madsen, trying to save 9 year old Nancy Callahan from a senator's son who means her harm. (Nick Stahl) A violent resolve later, and we're thrust into the world of Mickey Rourke's Marv, (under a lot of make-up, but still unmistakably Rourke) who is tracking down the murderer of his beloved Goldie. (Jamie King, in a dual role) From there we're introduced to Clive Owen (who OWNS in this flick) and Brittany Murphy, (who horribly overacts - everyone else seems to "get" the noir style, except for her) who tangle with Benicia Del Toro (deliriously creepy) and Rosairo Dawson. (who looks ripped from Miller's books even more so than Rourke's Marv) Another violent resolve later, and we're back with Willis and a grown up Nancy - in the form of the delectable Jessica Alba. (we all have her poster on our wall, right?)
Elijah Wood is honestly scary as "Kevin" a silent assassin/cannibal, and Nick Stahl is absolutely satanic as Jr/aka Yellow Bastard. There's nudity, (notably Marv's parole officer Lucille/Carla Gugino) humor, (mostly Marv - the audience loved him) and violence. (from just about everyone.) While some scenes are funny, this is without a doubt the most violent film I've ever seen. It's quite unrelenting, but some of the shock factor is dulled since it's primarily in black and white. (with all of the blood being white, except for our heroes - they bleed red)
This will be a big fanboy favorite, but despite being the most quotable film in recent memory, I doubt it will find a big audience. It's too heavily stylized for the masses - but I hope I'm wrong. It deserves to do big box office, if only because it's the most literal comic book translation ever. (scenes were storyboarded direct from the graphic novels - and you can tell)
Sin City is a wild ride, and you won't want it to let up one bit. Hard boiled men, and harder edged women. If you haven't read the books, don't worry, you won't be lost. Just open yr mind and go with the style of the film. (no spoilers in this review - sorry to disappoint some, but why would you want plot points revealed?)
10 out of 10 Bullets.
5 out of 5 stars floating around yr head.
Two Severed Thumbs up.
Check out my page for more reviews: http://www.971talk.com/movie/index.aspx
Now for Zaggins...
I've never written into the site before, mainly because I have never had the chance to see anything early, until now. A friend and I live in Knoxville, TN and we were able to procure two passes to an early showing of SIN CITY. So, seeing as how we're both geekasses when it comes to comic books and their resulting film adaptations, we reacted like schoolgirls when told that we would be able to see it early. Was it worth it?
OH. HELL. FUCKING. YES.
I'm not even a particularly huge fan of Robert Rodriguez. I think he has great style, and DESPERADO is a personal fave of mine. I still got really, really scared when I heard that he was adapting SIN CITY, basically because I did not know what to expect. He has completely re-written the rules as to how a comic book adaptation should be. This is such a rousing fucking success on so many levels that I was left speechless afterwards. Which, if you know how big of a film buff I am, is really hard to do.
The sheer audacity that Rodriguez and Miller had to actually do this film, and not only that, but make it so faithful as to seem that we're actually watching the comic book, not the movie, is amazing. The photography and camerawork in this film is astounding, groundbreaking even. Add to the fact that if they are able to keep even half the violence in this film, well, it'll be one of the hardest R-rated films the public will have a chance to see.
I can go on and on about the performances, because there is not a weak link in the cast. However, three really stick out for me. The first is Mickey Rourke, who simply IS Marv. That is the highest praise available, because he is Marv in this film. The second is Clive Owen, who I can now safely say is one of my favorite actors, period. He makes Dwight somehow sympathetic and vicious at the same time, a perfect incarnation of the character in the comic book. Third, and most surprisingly, is Elijah Wood. Before going into the screening, I looked at my friend and said, "There is no way Elijah Wood can play a cannibal and seem the least bit menacing." I now feel like the fucking dumbass that I deserve to be, because, wow. He is so, so fucking scary and menacing, yet it seems like it comes natural to him, which is what makes that shit scarier. There is a scene that he has with Marv that I cannot even describe in words. Wood's performance in this scene is simply remarkable.
I will be seeing this again, and again, and again. There actually is no telling how many times I will pay to see this film. The most perfect comic book film made to date. It elevates it to an art form.
If you use this, call me zaggans.
Next flashing his red at the bull of AICN readers is The Matador...
Greetings, I was one of the fortunate few (okay, the theatre was full) last night that got to see SinCity in all it's digital glory here in San Diego. This is a movie that, like Peter Jackson's LOTR films wears it's adoration of the source material on it's sleeve. At the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con the directors talked about translating the shots in the book onto film, and this is exactly what they did. It IS Sin City, the people, the places, every situation rang true to the books they drew from for the film. What about for people who don't know the books? The only thing that may help the curious is this - Sin City when it first came out was lauded as re-visiting the sort of hard-boiled noir tales of the past (M, The Third Man)...with an in-your-face edge that Frank Miller consistently delivered on the promise of. They were already paced, plotted and laid out like the phenomenal films of the past, and now they have been made flesh, from 2-D comics to fully realized three dimensions. I walked out replaying scenes over and over in my mind...ecstatic...breathless...It won't be a movie for everyone. PG-13 may get bigger accessability to ticket sales, but this is the telling the story of a harsh town, the people who survive there, and with an unwavering camera that doesn't soften any of the hard edges, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have done really only one thing: Created the ultimate adaptation of a comic book ever. Period. Without compromise, only the truth remains. "Preacher" Respectfully, FC2(SW) Troy R. Vanderpool Substance Abuse Counselor
Although it?s only been an hour since I?ve seen SIN CITY, I?m going to resist the urge to spew a haphazard knee-jerk response to what I just saw. I don?t normally write down my thoughts on movies, but my buddy ? who was so kind as to invite me to the screening ? suggested I should do just that and submit it to you fine fellows at AICN. My guess is that he assumed we were having an intelligent conversation about the film, but our little chat was actually driven by my own knee-jerk reaction to the vitriol my ears were exposed to by other film-goers in the lobby after the event.
But forget about that for now, I?ll come back to it later.
The important question is this: Does a cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller?s SIN CITY work?
And the answer can be considered in the light of an idiom once expressed by Sam Fuller. According to Fuller, a film oughtta grab the audience by the balls in the first scene and hold onto them until the final scene.
And the answer can be expressed in this statement: SIN CITY is the epitome of the Fullerian philosophy on film. Which I don?t happen to think is a bold statement. I think it?s an honest statement that makes a whole lotta sense.
This is a dark film. Why? The subject matter is dark. Examine the story and you?ll find button-pushin? material for everyone: beatings, shootings, murder, prostitution, lesbians, mutilations, decapitations, cannibalism, suicide and pedophilia. All of this subject matter exceeds the fucked-up meter on any controversial literary novel. This type of material is the definition of pulp fiction and penny dreadfuls, which is the meat and potatoes of everything SIN CITY is about. If you can stomach these unsavory and gritty details, if you can dig deep enough, you?ll ultimately find that the heart of SIN CITY deals with redemption.
OK. But what about the movie?
All of this stuff is there. All of it.
Narratively, SIN CITY follows the Frank Miller stories almost exactly as they are. I might be wrong about this ? it?s been a while since I?ve read the books ? but I believe some extraneous and character piece-driven dialogue was left out, but not really enough to be noticeable. Comments that aren?t necessary to propel these stories cinematically. But everything else is there. Everything you see in The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard you?ll see in the movie. The structure is ingenious and reminiscent of PULP FICTION. There?s a prologue that includes Hartigan and Nancy?s introduction, then the film progresses into Marv and Goldie?s story. If this is Act 1, then Act 2 deals with Clive and Miho and everything in The Big Fat Kill. And Act 3 returns to the story of Hartigan and Nancy. A tight epilogue brings the film full circle.
This is a visually stunning film. In fact, the first thing that latches onto your balls is the look of the film. The darkness of the shadows, the emphasis on colors that enrich the actions and emotions playing out on screen: green, blue, red, and yep, yellow. Imagine the Frank Miller comic that is in your head...now broadcast those images onto the screen. It?s a delight to watch really.
A visual feast.
An entire medium is being imported onto projection screens. Cinema is breathing a new life into what was only once possible on paper. And it?s exciting. There is a culpable difference between seeing characters like Spiderman and Doc Ock being brought to life and seeing an entire comic book aesthetic and color palette being translated to film.
As a fan of the books, I was still surprised by the amount of violence, gore and carnage that seems to pop off the screen.
This is violence as form and visceral cinema at its finest hour. Which makes me curious to see how females might react to this flick. I noticed our screening audience had only two or three females in attendance, who were surely representatives of the working press. Sure, there are moments of laughable cartoony violence ? the likes of which can be seen in KILL BILL, but I think that the tone, tenor and color palette of this film evokes a grittier mood. A nastier and somber mood. There are moments where it?s fun, but there are other moments ? that yes, grab you by the balls ? where you grit your teeth and think, ?Goddamn, I read the books and knew what was comin?, but Jesus, that?s fuckin? rough.?
Even though the structure is comprised of three stories, it does feel like a bigger hole. Just like in the books, there is the sense that everything fits together like a puzzle, but there are also stray stories hiding in the shadows, waiting to be told and put into the bigger picture.
It all feels so cohesive and fluid I had difficulty distinguishing which director directed what. It?s exciting and touching to see Miller credited as a director, but I?m still wondering which guys did what. At the very least, assuming Miller and Rodriguez complimented each other throughout the process, I was sure I was going to be able to point out which scene or sequence or story Tarantino was going to direct.
But you know what?
I couldn?t tell. There?s so much going on, and I?ve only seen it once, it?s hard for me to guess. But that?s definitely a good thing. With so many directorial hands involved, people might come into the movie with the impression that the thing will feel like an anthology film and suffer all flaws included with that stigma. It doesn?t. Not at all. If anything, it feels like a masterpiece. If film is a collaborative medium, then SIN CITY is a shining example of a collaborative art.
OK. Earlier I mentioned that these thoughts were stimulated by the thoughts of others that were at the screening. I heard one or two people dismiss the film because of the acting. I can see people misinterpreting some of the line deliveries as bad acting. It?s not that the acting is bad ? which it is not ? it?s that these people aren?t very astute. Which is OK. What?s not OK is to dismiss a work of art because you don?t understand it. If you go into the flick and you understand that this hardboiled dialogue definitely might look good on paper, and knowing this, understand that it could be very bad in the wrong hands, then perhaps you?ll appreciate the performances more. They are solid performances.
Clive Owen and Rosario Dawson are two of the performances that stand out in my mind. Watch them, listen to them...they are characters straight out of a fuckin? tribute to hardboiled crime and detective fiction, demented homages to film noir originally brought to life in what was once considered a childish medium. This is not naturalistic dialogue meant to be portrayed through naturalistic performances and off-the-cuff nuances. It?s all deliberate. It?s dialogue evocative of characters who inhabit a world founded on the themes of noir: guilt, redemption, betrayal and nihilism. Consider this with the fact that each frame is representative of a comic book frame, and you might look at the film differently.
Besides, don?t we sometimes go to movies to enter another person?s world? Another person?s imagination?
If we forget this basic purpose of storytelling, it might also be easy to forget that all characters do not have to be sympathetic characters. It might be easy to lose our sense of wonder and awe.
But if you?re one of these people who enjoy violence as form, who still have that sense of wonder and awe, then you, my friend, are in for a treat.
Next we have Lord_Darkseid...
Longtime reader, first time contributor and all that jazz. A friend of mine took me to a press screening of Sin City this morning and I wanted to share my thoughts on it.
First a brief note so you'll see where I'm coming from. I've collected and read all the comics and GN's as they were released and have been in serious love with Miller's use of ink and Lynn Varley's selective use of color. (This does come into play, as you well know). Also, though I've greatly enjoyed Robert Rodriguez's prevous films I had a concern as to how they would connect these stories into one film. My favorites have been the original story (now called 'The Hard Goodbye') and That Yellow bastard, while my absolute least favorite was The Big Fat Kill (Never liked its ending at all). So I had all this in mind when I went in.
After the screening was over, the only thing I could think was.... Daaaaaaaaaayum! I needded a cigarette so bad afterwards, it wasn't even funny, especially since I don't smoke. In any case, Rodriguez and Miller have created the perfect comic book movie. Mickey Rourke makes an awesome Marv (and I promise, if it weren't for the fanboy-titilating oprning sequence, you would not recognize Rourke) and The Hard Goodbye was my favorite segment from this film. They also fixed it so that I didn't hate Big Fat Kill with a funny little twist. The overall pacing of the film felt a bit rushed, but I can forgive that. It was follwing the comic 995, which can feel a bit rushed if translated to film. The performances were also a bit cheesy, like something out of a 1940's story, but since that's how the comic is, I can also forgive that as well.
The main star of the film to me at least though, was the art direction and lighting, which were phenomenal to say the least. They absouletly nailed the overall look of Sin City to a fucking T and seriously deserve Oscar consideration in this regard. People who've read the comics will very much appreciate these elements. The merging of black/white and color and and almost simuteneuous contrasting of the two was a drool inducing sight to behold.
One thing that may confuse people. I'd seen on imdb.com the characters of the SC storyline A Dame To Kill For had been cast, but they did not appear in this film. The BFK segment makes miniscule referreces to that story in the movie, leading me to believe DTKF will be an extra feature of some sort on the impending DVD. I was distracted by these elements so I'd forgotten to play my favorite game of 'count the jobs Robert Rodriguez does in making his movie' but one thing I did notice.... even in the ending credits, it doesn't mention which specific segment Quentin Tarrantino guest-directed.
In closing although Superman is my favorite comic book film, I've often considered Spider-Man the best adaptation of a comic series, even with its changes. That is no longer the case. Everyone needs to check out the Sin City movie and read the comics. Both are excellent.
If you need to attribute this review to someone, call me Lord_Darkseid. Peace.
Now for Zenslinger...
This is Zenslinger checking in. I imagined you would have a lot of SIN CITY reviews today, but here’s another if you want it.
A little background on my expectations: I’m a middling Frank Miller enthusiast, mostly just because of the lasting impression of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Not a big comic or graphic novel guy and have not read the SIN CITY books. But I was looking forward to this movie. I had that feeling you get when you find yourself excited by a trailer, but your inner genre fan, who has been disappointed so many times, is scowling and folding his arms and saying “It better be good.”
I am neutral on Rodriguez. He’s obviously to be admired for his range of filmmaking skills and the place he’s carved out for himself in the industry is impressive. But I didn’t dig some of his stuff, like DESPERADO. Gestures were just too broad.
The gestures are even broader in SIN CITY, but here, finally, is an arena in which wild violence, torture, and bloody revenge can duke it out, spiced with a surfeit of unabashedly ripe female bodies. The setting can hold the action, for once, and the movie is good. From where I sit, KILL BILL had only a few moments over four…long…hours that were this much fun.
It doesn’t pull punches on the violence and no taboos are respected. Thank God. I don’t know that it’s an appropriate way to phrase it, but let’s just thank Jesus that we’re allowed to have a movie in which folks are eaten alive and three people get their cocks blown off in about a ten minute span. (Blown off by firearms, not by Jessica Alba.)
Of course you don’t feel the kind of horror watching it that you do when, say, the guy on Omaha beach picks up his own leg and tries to hop away with it in Saving Private Ryan. SIN CITY isn’t reality, and says so. It’s the first movie I’ve seen that achieves an effective comic book/graphic novel atmosphere. If you suspect from the trailer that they may have nailed it visually, with the Miller’s trademark hulking sets of shoulders and those lovely grey tones, then you won’t be disappointed. (The bizarre uses of color may not sit well with everyone, but I liked them.)
It’s a world in which someone can get hit by a car a few times and still get up – he’s not Superman, he’s just tough. Anyone getting shot once or twice is probably not down for the count, but you know that. By and large, you buy it.
I was concerned going in that the story wouldn’t work out as well as the visuals, and, well…you all are just going to have to see for yourselves. It’s quite episodic, switching narrator/main character several times, its structure recalling PULP FICTION, although the temporal interweaving doesn’t have as much dramatic effect. But the story works pretty well – story threads that the viewer fears have been abandoned are picked up again. Many movies that have several storylines fail to satisfy dramatic expectations, but I found SIN CITY’s episodes to be a relief in a way, because so many films, especially genre films, get lost on the way to the Big Climax. (Yes, Mr. Sommers, this means you.)
There are some memorable characters, though I don’t want to go into the whole cast. Clive Owen didn’t impress me as much as Mickey Rourke – his character is the most memorable, pure Miller.
And that’s what the movie is really: Miller, Miller, and more Frank Miller. It seems like Tarantino and Rodriguez were just trying to be midwives to his vision. This is mostly a good thing, but occasionally it becomes a weakness. Sometimes the Miller moments are drawn so broadly that they go off even the huge canvas provided, like when some of the tough guy dialog falls a bit flat. Another thing that could bother some people is that Miller’s bag of tricks storywise is pretty limited – many elements seem to be spliced right out of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.
Overall, though, it’s a ripping good time. Sex and blood enough for a good long while. The fights are fun and the women are hot. If you have to visit the doctor the next morning to give a sperm sample like I did, you won’t have much trouble finding images from SIN CITY to ruminate upon while doing your bit for science.
Consider that my seal of approval.
Now for the magnificence that is Grendalkhan...
Sin City: It’s just so goddamned cool
I am at the fabulous Midtown Art Cinema on a rainy St. Patrick’s Day in Atlanta. I am here courtesy of the ever-nice Jim Farmer (the PR-guy for the theater). The lobby’s fulla Chudites, from Nick’s site, CHUD.com. Seems Nick’s got an “in” with some people, and decided to share it with some readers of the site. Those that didn’t have to be at work at 10 am on a Thursday, anyway. I even saw former AICN chatter Asoze. Since he’s left AICN for the Armies of the Chudites, I rarely see him, and things are tense and strained between us. Well, not really. It just sounds better. More noir, ya know? Oh, speaking of noir, there’s a reason we’re all here this morning. Frank FUCKING Miller. Much like the “Fuck-yeah Wolves, Hookers. Angels. Bastards. Thugs. These are the populace of Sin City. They’re drawn in sharp black, bright whites and all the greys of hardship. Rodriguez has perfectly taken Miller's small panels of paper and ink, and made them 30 feet high and blooded and visceral. I read the original Sin City books that these are adapted from, and loved them. They’re sad, and tough and bloody as hell. They’re about those in power being more evil, and putrid and corrupt then the strippers, the whores and the meatheads combined. They’re also about not letting your friends down. I’m going
First shot: cityscape, roof, night. A woman walks to edge of roof, her red dress shimmers and sparkles in the night air. Party music is playing softly. A man walks up, they speak. She lights a smoke, as the flame grows, you see an almost bit of color in her eyes. Only the dress and her lips are in color. Shots hiss out, same as a dying breath, and the great damn tragedy that is just living in Sin City starts to be realized.
From there it goes to the credits, with some spare, sparse music reminiscent greatly of the classic “Peter Gunn” theme. I noticed (and liked) how instead of saying filmed by and edited by: it says “Shot and Cut by Robert Rodriguez” Simple, and yet brutal-sounding. Nice way to get started, as are the character drawings of each person.
The film then rolls into the Hartigan/Nancy storyline, (with Bruce Willis finally seeming to give a damn about a role again.) Then into Marv’s story and he’s out to get information on who killed Goldie, however he can. “I love hit men. No matter what you do to them you don’t feel bad”- Marv on a V.O. whilst mushing a guy’s ugly mug through the brick wall. Dwight’s story is up next. And while Tarantino directed the car scene with Owens and Del Toro, he keeps it totally within Rodriguez and Miller’s vision. The only spot of real color in the whole film is when the flashlight is played over Dwight’s face by maybe the only non-corrupt cop in the whole film. It’s strange, seeing real color, after so much grey, and red, and white. The stylization of
In these connected stories, everyone who you would expect to “be there for you” is corrupt as hell. The cops, the clergy and even a senator. “Power don’t come from a dick, or a gun. Power comes from a lie.” – Cardinal Roark. A nicely understated Rutger Hauer performance I might add.
Frank Miller loves women. Not just in that “How you doin’?” kind of way. He respects them. Some women aren’t going to see that. They’ll just be up in arms about the tits and ass. I know that some women will think that he writes powerful men and women as just arm candy. Maybe. But these men, all of them, do it for the dame. Willis’ Hartigan lets his pride fall in order to save the girl. Owens’ Dwight just tries to do right by a barmaid with a past and a street full of independent women. Rourke’s Marv is best of all though. He has this strange sort of innocence to him. A simpleton’s plans for revenge and death, played out in complexity and sacrifice. You also might just some away thinking once again that Bruce Willis is the baddest man ever. No spoiler, but you’ll know th
These men are broken from longing for love, the need to do right, to protect in the most primitive sense. Simple. Noir. But look again at the women of Oldtown, keeping pimps, cops and the mob off of them. Miho with her cat-footed stealth. Gail with a valkyrie-gleam in her eyes. Even Nancy, who never screams. These women are not to be dismissed just because they look great in bondage gear, and that offends you.
See this film. Whatever you do, give this film your money. Don’t download it. Rodriguez gave up his DGA membership over this. Support his and Miller’s vision. If you’ve ever wanted to see a page-for-page translation of a work you loved, and respected, see this film. If you just wanna see lots of tits and ass, this is the film for you, (but your ideas are misplaced). If you want “holy shit, did he just DO that?” moments, stop on by. It seems the only “good” guys in the film are the dregs and washouts. They’re there for redemption, not letting the dame down, and vengeance. Don’t forget vengeance.
~~~ *Grendel Khan*
And now for Warhead...
I attended a press screening of Sin City in Orlando FL last night and here's my thoughts...
Sin City was the first Non-Super Hero Comic Book Series that I read religiously backed in the 90's. Every week, I'd rushed to the local comic shop to pick up the next installment of Dark Horse Presents to see whose ass Marv was gong to kick next. After 10 years of Sin City Titles from Dark Horse Comics, the new stories stopped coming and Frank Miller went on to work on the over-hyped, but horribly poor DK2. Last year, reports were coming in that Sin City was being made into a film by Robert Rodriguez with Frank Miller sitting on his shoulder like a mad cautious parrot protecting his creation. Would these guys be able to pull it off like Guillermo del Toro did with Hellboy? Let's find out...
The Sin City Books used for this film were The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard. The Babe Wore Red One Shot and it's Characters were used to open and close the film and were pulled off decently. But that part was easy, it was the other 3 stories that I was concerned about.
The Hard Goodbye will show everyone how far someone will go to get to the truth. As Ron Perlman IS Hellboy, Mickey Rourke IS Marv. Excellent casting choice here and Mickey/ Marv will definitely bring the audience into Basin City with style. The Hard Goodbye was the best of the three stories in the film. But that was not a surprise since it was also the best story in the Sin City Books as well. Elijah Wood as Kevin is fantastic.
That Yellow Bastard features Bruce Willis as John Hartigan, a fairly good cop in a very bad town. Hartigan is finishing out his last day on the job when he starts to think about the one piece of unfinished business he has left, taking out a filthily child molester who happens to be the son of the senator. Bruce pulls together a great performance here and for those of you who know how this story ends, you will not be disappointed.
The other story in the film is also it's weakest, The Big Fat Fill. Hell and Black and The Big Fat Kill were my least favorite in the Sin City Series and A Dame to Kill For would have been a better choice IMO. Maybe Robert and Frank are saving that one for a sequel. Clive Owen's performance as Dwight is weak and forced. The Ladies of Old Town, are also disappointing except for Miho played by Devon Aoki. She single handily saves this story in the film. Devon/ Miho steals every scene she was in and will be quickly a fan favorite. I wonder if Quentin used some of Miho in creating Go-Go for Kill Bill... I never liked how this story arc ended in the comics and it disappointed here as well.
While seeing some of my favorite Sin City Characters and Stories in live action form is great, there were a couple of things that bothered me:
The Three Headed Directing Team of Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino do a fantastic job of "translating" the film from book to screen, but IMO they failed to put any of their own style into directing their parts in the film. The panel by panel recreation of memorable images from the comics were there, but I didn't see where any of the three directors really shined behind the camera.
The other thing that bothered me was the constant battle between the Narration from the Sin City Characters and the Soundtrack / Film Score which could barely be heard. I hope this was just in the theater I saw it in, but the film really needed to have these two elements effectively mixed together. The Narration is key to understanding and feeling for the characters in Sin City, but that's all I heard in many parts of the film when the proper score could have made me feel different about what I was seeing on screen.
For those people who are not familiar at all with Frank Miller's Sin City Stories, it will be one of those movies that people will either Love or Hate. The on-screen violence will have many these movie goers squirming in their seats and others possibly leaving the theater. I knew what was coming, but the three dimensional representation of the some of the screens will stick with you for a long time. As for those of you who are familiar with Frank Miller's Sin City, you will leave the theater pleased with hopefully more "pros" than "cons" like I did.
Please use the reader review name as "Warhead".
Here's the unsigned non-spoiler negative review. In all - I've only received 2 other negatives - but they went into spoilers and I'm not a big spoiler fan - specially on a movie so filled with surprises (for those non-Miller readers) - One of the unused negatives said that the film was terrible - filled with disgusting nonsensical violence and mayhem. The other felt the film was edited too tightly and not allowed to breathe. Both really went crazy with the spoilers though - as did about 20 other positives that also went into heavy spoiler territory. But here ya go. Moriarty will be posting his review soon, he saw the film tonight and seems to have deeply enjoyed himself, the 3 words he said after saying, "I SAW SIN CITY TONIGHT," were "JESUS. FUCKING. CHRIST." And now here ya go...
HILARIOUSLY OVER THE TOP! RIDICULOUSLY VIOLENT! UNBELIEVABLY NOT BAD!
So i saw Sin City tonight. Anyone expecting this to actually rule, drop those expectations right now. It doesn’t. Going into the movie i had very mixed feelings because I wanted it to rule so badly even though my rational mind (and Rodriguez recent work) told me that it probably wouldn’t. The cast ruled. The LOOK RULED. The trailer ruled. BUT Rodriguez last few films for me, (namely Spy Kids 2 and Once Upon A Time In Mexico), have been disastrous and near unwatchable. (Or at least re-watchable.) So I approached it with cautious excitement and optimism. The movie started and very quickly was just SO over the top in the dialogue and the action and everything that i started to get a little bummed out that it clearly wasn’t going to be very good. But somewhere along the way, i had a reversal and just ended up enjoying the hell out of it. I mean, its SO RIDICULOUS and SO OVER THE TOP. And the violence, oh the violence you wouldn’t believe.
Though i have seen a lot of the artwork I’m not too familiar with the comic so, i had no idea what to expect. Probably even if i had i still would've had no idea they would actually included all the stuff they actually put in this movie. I can now see why they are throwing around Tarantino’s guest credit as largely as they are. Because those movies were still weird as hell but people still saw them. This will require a similar patience from ‘average moviegoers’ in regards to their tolerance for certain things. I mean it’s comic-booky, i guess but it still gets pretty disgusting. And there is SO much of it. Just sick depraved violence wall to wall. Kill bill was like a Saturday morning cartoon compared to this. SPOILERS there are more decapitations and decapitated heads in this movie i think than any movie I’ve ever seen. END SPOILERS
Ghostboy wrote: Judging by this footage, it will be good and fanboys will eat it up, but it won't be great: a near perfect replication of the comics, but therein lies the problem. Oh well, I'm still excited as hell.
Exactly. It is a comic book, and you can tell. But that’s why comic books are comic books and movies are movies. They’re different mediums and storytelling that can work for one does not necessarily work for the other. I do however give them credit for trying, though. On the one hand, after seeing the movie i can now envision a version of this movie done very conventionally in a new noir-ish way with things more grounded in reality and the structure being more traditional. And that probably would've been a better film, but that wouldn’t be the comic book. And this, as Rodriguez has said himself is not an adaptation, it’s a translation. So you almost have to give them credit for doing things their own way without giving a fuck as to how movies are supposed to be. Maybe the formulas is tired, and maybe this is what is new. Rodriguez here is still in his hyperactive mode, though it’s much better than his last few efforts (though admittedly i didn’t see the 3rd Spy Kids). Whereas FDTD and Desperado and The Faculty can function as 'real' (read: somewhat normal) movies, these last few have been clearly made by someone with ADD hopped up on soda pop. But in this movies weird ass way, it ends up not being too bad a fit.
There is a lot of voiceover, almost wall to wall, which is odd especially coming from 3 different characters. It can be hilarious, possibly unintentionally due to the extreme hard-boiledness of many of the characters but when it works it works well and I cant imagine them having tried to tell these stories without it. My only real complaint about the film other than its unwillingness to play by the rules and make something that actually resembles a ‘movie’, is that i expected them to interweave the plots of the stories, possibly cutting back and forth between them or at least having them intertwine more like pulp fiction. But it’s more like an anthology of 3 or 4 almost unrelated tales that sort of end and the next one begin. Not to jump on the CO bandwagon, but i think Clive Owens voiceover and acting seemed the most natural though Rourke and Willis were also pretty good. Actually surprisingly everyone in the film was pretty good, with the unusual exception of Michael Madsen who seemed bored and Rosario Dawson who went even more over-the-top than most of the other actors.
The movie, like the trailer LOOKS awesome. Just gorgeously, unbelievably cool. So if for nothing else, things like this and sky captain have opened up the doors to trying different things. But unfortunately like sky captain, neither director has matched his storytelling ambition with that of the look of the film.
It's the kind of movie Harry Knowles will rave about loving in a week or two but not end up anywhere on his Best of the Year list. It's a guilty pleasure not a movie that is bona fide great that I can get behind recommending to everyone. So on the one hand if someone said this movie was a piece of shit then i might not be able to argue with them, but that didn’t stop me from really having a good time. So, i think i will actually go see this again. It’s kind of ridiculously over the top, but maybe that’s good.