Sin City


Directed by: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Written by:Frank Miller
Starring: Jessica Alba, Alexis Bledel, Rosario Dawson, Benecio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Josh Hartnett, Jaime King, Michael Madsen, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Nick Stahl, Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood
Released: July 14, 2005
Grade: A

Sin City is adapted from the comic book series written by Frank Miller.  The film focuses on three of Miller’s stories and you’ll easily be able to distinguish between them.  It’s like watching 3 separate films which run for roughly 40 minutes.

Most importantly though, it’s the first time I’ve seen a film which really felt like a comic book.  Shot mostly in black and white, there’s no way this film could have been made prior to the 21st Century.  The reason is because what you see is 100% special effects.  The entire cast performed in front of a green screen and just did whatever director Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller asked of them.  If you think that’s amazing, some cast members appear together on screen and yet never met in the studio!  They filmed their scenes separately and it was all woven together in the editing room.

The first of the stories sees retiring police detective named Hartigan (Willis) and his partner Bob (Madsen) try to hunt down the kidnapper of a young girl.  The clues lead Hartigan to an old warehouse by the docks where he finds the girl with Roark (Stahl), the son of a leading politician.

The second tale sees a disfigured giant named Marv (Rourke) framed for the murder of a prostitute (King).  Consumed by rage, Marv goes on a city-wide hunt to find who is responsible.  The man he will find is a slippery customer – a cannibal named Kevin (Wood) who will prove to be a difficult opponent.

The final story follows Dwight (Owen) and a strong group of ladies who have inadvertently killed a police officer (Del Toro).  If discovered, the slaying will shatter the fragile peace of the town so it’s up to Dwight to dispose of the body where it will never be found.  It won’t be easy.

Every spoken line is Sin City is corny but it’s just like it would be in a comic book and why the film is so entertaining.  One character comes with a witty line and then the other character tries to out do them.  It’s all so deliberately spoken too – the dialogue isn’t rushed and there are some beautiful pauses.

The cast and crew are a who’s who of Hollywood.  Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) guest directs a scene featuring Benecio Del Toro and Clive Owen.  For the remainder of the film, we can lavish praise on Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado) in what is a fantastic directorial effort.  With no sets, he and writer Frank Miller initially drew every scene out on paper and then turned it over to the effects wizard.  The end result is undeniably seamless.

I am told that a lot more filming was done and that the directors’ cut, which will feature on the DVD release, will be much longer.  It all sounds very enticing.  But in the interim, let’s cut straight to the bottom line – Sin City is a cool, hip motion picture that you need to see on the big screen at any cost.