Sin City review – bloody good comic fun

Sin City is stylish, sexy and sensational

gWith every bloody, stylishly seductive moment, Sin City crashes through standard comic book movie conventions to blast through the screen as a mesmerizing and captivating crowd-pleaser.

The film is a series of vignettes based on three Sin City comic book stories: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City), Sin City Volume 4: That Yellow Bastard (3rd Edition) and Sin City, Vol. 3: The Big Fat Kill written and drawn by comics legend Frank Miller (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns).

sin city 2005 - marv and goldieMiller teams with co-director/co-screenwriter Robert Rodriguez (Once Upon a Time in Mexico [Blu-ray]) for a movie-going experience unlike anything you’ve seen in years thanks to slavish devotion to retaining the gritty, film noir look and feel of its comic book source material.

Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2 (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)) stars as Marv, a nearly indestructible bruiser trying to avenge the murder of his lover, Goldie (Jamie King, Pearl Harbor [Blu-ray]).

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On his path of vengeance, Marv smashes through armed police officers and their cars, dives off rooftops with ease as his trench coat billows in the wind all with a maniacal gleam in his eye. Rourke is electric in the role and he’s dynamic even with the heavy makeup that makes him most closely resemble his comic book counterpart.

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sin city 2005 - bruce willis and jessica albaTaking the spotlight for the other two stories are Bruce Willis as soon-to-be retired detective Hardigan who tries to save Nancy (Jessica Alba), a stripper who becomes the object of obsession for a senator’s demented son, and Clive Owen (Closer [Blu-ray]) as Dwight, a two-time jailbird trying to turn his life around even as trouble seems to find him.

The most fascinating of the trio is Dwight’s tale as he gets on the wrong side of a gangster (Benecio del Toro) and has to rely on his Old Town allies — a gang of women dressed more as superheroes in ninja, punk rock and cowboys than prostitutes led by his old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson). Owen is brilliant. While Rourke is so much fun whirling around like a Tasmanian devil, Owen is smooth, calculated and as cool as every guy wants to be when they have an inner monologue.


Miller’s comic was black and white with the occasional color accent — such as the scarlet lipstick of a femme fatale. The film mirrors that look with minimal color. Combined with digitally rendered backgrounds, Sin City features a vivid, striking visual that fondly looks back at the 1940s film noir style while embracing modern technology.

Sin City boasts an embarrassing riches of talent to the point that any three or five actors could carry their own movie, but have glorified cameos. It’s clearly a situation where this top-level talent (Brittany Murphy, Powers Boothe, Rutger Hauer, Carla Gugino, etc.) wanted in on the film no matter how minor their role.

sin city 2005 - elijah wood as kevinStill, it would have been nice for Del Toro, the 2001 Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for Traffic to have more screen time. Josh Hartnett also has a juicy role that is a bit shortchanged.

Rodriguez has never been a filmmaker to stage action with any trace of reality, yet he reins in his regular tendencies to make the violence extreme, but not absurd — for the most part.

sin city 2005 - josh hartnett and marley sheltonRodriguez’s regular collaborator, Quentin Tarantino, fills in to direct the most violent of the vignettes, which features blood geysers, decapitations and even the ridiculous shot of a guy slipping on his dismembered hand as if it was a banana peel. It’s silly and goofy, but in the context of the film’s dark humor, it’s effective.

Sin City is unflinching, brutal and revolutionary in its method of making the 2D comic book image leap onto the big screen in unprecedented fashion. It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to embrace its unique brand of mayhem, it’s one of the year’s most pleasant and welcome surprises.

sin city 2005 - rosario dawson and clive owen

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Photo Credits: The Weinstein Company

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