Welcome to Basin City, a city where a Senators maniacal son has access to its youth, where you’re just as likely to be killed by the police as you are a criminal and the prostitutes have their own section of town where they can dish out their own brand of justice independent of any officials.
Basin City is also home of Sin City the noir graphic novel (I call them comic books) by legendary comic Frank Miller. Frank Miller and Robert Rodguiez, with a little help from Quentin Tarnatino bring his very pessimistic and sadistic world to life in the new film of the same name and takes us all along on a wild, and very violent ride through Miller’s morally bankrupt imagination.
Sin City is everything you’d expect to hate about a movie: drastically violent, sadistic, misogynist by anyone’s standard and lacks any hint of morality but, despite all of that, it is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
First of all it is visually stunning. Rodriguez apparently adhered slavishly to Miller’s comic book and painstakingly took it from the comic pages to the big screen. The settings are stunning, and the color, this extreme black and white with splashes of well placed color, is astounding. Rodriguez, who has brought us films such as El Mariachi and Desperado, is just as stylized as he’s ever been and just as brilliant. He really brings you into this world of victim vs. victimizer where no one really wins and everyone is a loser.
Secondly Sin City’s all star cast doesn’t disappoint, with the exception of Jessica Alba who is out of place and completely out of her acting league in her role as Nancy, a stripper with the heart of gold. Some notable performances include Benicio del Torro, who is amazing as Johnny, the decorated yet sadistic and abusive police officer and ex-boyfriend to Brittany Murphy’s Alice and Clive Owens who plays Murphy’s new love interest and Johnny’s nemesis.
But the best performance of all is Mickey Rourke as Teddy a half man, half beast thing that avenges the murder of a hooker, Goldie, who is the only person who has ever shown him any kindness. When she’s found dead after a night they have spent together, Teddy is excused of the crime. He swears to find those guilty for her murder and proceeds to stop at nothing to see it done. This is a role Rourke was born to play. He embodies the psychotic and violent Teddy and you can’t help but feel for him as he sets out to exact the vengeance that has consumed his soul.
Sin City isn’t perfect however. The dialogue can start to get old after awhile, I know it is a comic book, so that over the top, nineteen fifties “Golly G" language is to be expected but still it was a bit annoying. Also the story is very complicated, having been adapted from three of Frank Miller’s comics and if you don’t pay close enough attention you could miss how all of the stories connect. I’ve already mentioned the violence but it bears repeating that this is an extremely violent film. While most of the violence and gore is stylized, (there’s a whole sequence with a decapitated, talking, head) it is still a bit much and if you’re of the faint of heart then this movie is not for you.
With that said Sin City is a great film and those young males who are a fan of Miller’s comics will not be disappointed here. If you can stand random acts of violence, beheadings and castrations, then take the time and see this film, it’s definitely worth your money. If not, stay home, this isn’t a family friendly flick.
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