Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska
Starring: Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Elijah Wood, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro
Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino
The mere thought of SIN CITY sends me into a tailspin. So great an impact has it made that its images haunt me still. What can I say? Some films are (so to speak) born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. In truckloads. SIN CITY falls into the last category.
How to begin this tale of greatness?
A New Tradition…
The adaptation of comic books into movies has undoubtedly become bigger than sliced cheese. And while some of the results have been superior to others, none have really managed to make a convincing transition from page to screen in a way that is true to the original medium. Until now.
SIN CITY is (in every way) so faithful to the material on which it is based that it’s hard to grasp exactly what the end product is. Is it a movie? Is it a three-dimensional page? Is it some drawing slash special effects affair that looks like neither? Think of it as seeing a comic book come to life. So blurred is the distinction of media that it would be natural to expect the characters to utter their words in the form of speech bubbles. This movie does for comic-book films what THE Lord of the Rings did for fantasy.
Poetic Noir – Revamped
The most notable angle to SIN CITY is that it shows up an old noir style in a whole new way. 40s-like heroes, villains and vamps battle it out in the black and white world of shadows and occasional lights. The feeling transpired is the usual one of dread and the brooding of tortured souls.
The location of a city so full of greed, violence and misery surely has no equivalent on earth, and yet it is as tangible as the place you live in. Beyond a shadow of a doubt this is a dark, dark place. It has a life of its own. And you will feel the pulse of its peculiar poetry.
Setting this pulse is just the right amount of action to up the pace to a speed that re-defines noir. The special effects, too, are spectacular. The result? A high-rise mix of energy and wicked fun, not eclipsed by the sheer volume of the action, but boosted by it.
The great news is that his dark masterpiece is not all effects. As the three intertwining tales unfold, it is the characters and their heartfelt plights in the heartless world of sin that manage to tug at your heartstrings. Ironic, I know, to mention anything about heart when what hits you hardest is the bombardment of bullets and the bludgeoning of bad guys, but if you think about it afterwards, you will see that at the heart of SIN CITY cries a very human story.
An overwhelming myriad of famous people strut their stuff in this film. There are, in fact, too many names to mention in this impressive pack; just seeing the credits re-defines the meaning of star-studded! Amazingly, they all do a decent job; their characters are credible and incredible all at once, telling their stories boldly, with fervour and devotion. I can’t shake the dodgy feeling that I might one day bump into one of them at some murky street corner…
The Horror! The Humour!
There is no gentle way to say this: SIN CITY is a ruthless rendition of violence. If you think that this latest adult project from Robert Rodriguez (of the El Mariachi movies and vampire-slashing cult From Dusk Till Dawn notoriety) is going to be sans bloodshed or mayhem, then you’re in for quite a shock. Although you shouldn’t be surprised: any film that implicitly states ‘bloody violence’ before the age restriction of 18 is going to raise hell. Certainly not for the squeamish!
Gunshots aside, the point to understand is that the extreme violence is an integral part of the plot. And linked directly to it is the sometimes-sickening sense of humour. It is wit coupled with carnage that provides one of the smartest outtakes of dialogue to date.
The Only Conclusion:
A film that grips you with both hands until your own empathy runs as freely as the blood. A winning combination of everything a spectacular movie should be. And a spectacular lesson in film it is.
It would be utter sin to miss this.