Sin City


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Sin City
"The lurid and sensational delivery by Rodriguez propels his movie forward into feeling anything but as recycled as it really is."

"Frank Miller's Sin City" is a feast without fulfillment, a realisation of pure imagination with characters vile and/or vicious. Sympathy becomes a commodity that dies with the owner. Catharsis dissolves the knots wound round your heart, while the sea of corruption remains. It tells the three parallel stories of men with missions, girls as window-dressing and a healthy smattering of highly stylised violence. The film bookends with sensual assassination, drawing us in and out of the world. I deliberately choose not to discuss story and plot - since visiting Sin City is like visiting a place in the mind, like The Lord Of The Rings, the plot is only an achingly small part of the experience.

Robert Rodriguez co-directs with Miller, with a fairly even split of duties. Rodriguez handles the look and technicals of the film with breakneck skill, and Miller the characters and actors. And oh, what a look it is! Sin City is the very depth and form of pulp, a blooming monochrome nightmare of the very worst human scum. Miller takes his books, and boils his characters down to the essentials, hard world-weary bastards, gorgeous strippers (Jessica Alba can't act for toffee, but she looks stunning nontheless!) and prostitutes. It is the consumate blending of these superbly drawn - by the actors, that is - characters with the old-school pulp look created digitally, a la Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow, that sells the film. Everything is a pumped-up shade of grey, aside from the moments where human emotion interludes, whereupon a shade of colour enriches the off-kilter humanity of the moment. That, and the Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl), who is always yellow.

Copy picture

Anyone expecting Miller and Rodriguez to hold back on the claret (or custard - in the case of the Yellow Bastard), had better think twice. Marv (Mickey Rourke) looks upon killing as a holy gift, cleansing his filthy soul with others. Kevin (a chilling and wordless Elijah Wood) delights in feasting on religion and the flesh of sinners. The wide-reaching and varied cast does uniformly excellent work, particularly Rourke, who looks like he'd shrivel the film-noir heroes of yesteryear with a single stare.

When you mix creativity, passion and astonishing technical prowess, you have an impressive film. These elements along with a steamrollered, but strangely straight moral compass - what other movies do you know where it delivers Old Testament satisfaction of the crime of paedophilia! Miller's stories fold into a pleasingly nasty and perverse piece of pornography. The lurid and sensational delivery by Rodriguez propels his movie forward into feeling anything but as recycled as it really is.

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2005
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Sin City packshot
Stylised graphic novel adaptation shows three men on a mission.
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Read more Sin City reviews:

John Gallagher *****
The Remote Viewer *****
Angus Wolfe Murray ***1/2

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Frank Miller, based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller

Starring: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Benicio del Toro, Jaime King, Nick Stahl, Powers Boothe, Rutger Hauer, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Michael Clarke Duncan, Devon Aoki, Carla Gugino, Alexis Bledel, Josh Hartnett

Year: 2005

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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