Sunday, April 03, 2005

Movie Review: Sin City

I just went and saw this movie tonight. I may have to go see it tomorrow, if my wife lets me. And cheap Tuesday. With luck, I can see it in a different city next weekend.

But enough with the editorializing. This is a movie that will definitely polarize the viewers. From what I could tell from the gasps, yells, laughs, and hooting, my fellow audience-members liked it. Some people on the way out were saying bad things about it. It was hard for me to keep from pounding their skulls flat on the hard, cold, packed earth of an unholy barn floor.

Whoops, editorializing again. My adrenaline is still a little bit high.

From the man who brought respectability back to comics, and the man who could inexplicably produce "El Mariachi" and "Spy Kids 3D" in the same lifetime, comes Frank Miller's Sin City. Not once does it shy away from the source material (except for Jessica Alba, who has a no-nudity contract clause). Marv does everything that you'd expect of an indestructible killing machine with a soft fluffy teddy bear heart wrapped in bloody razor wire. Hartigan is the man... bar none, Hartigan is the man. Nameless the Salesman, although only in two scenes, perhaps drives home most poignantly the morality of Basin City. Nancy, skinny little Nancy Callahan, is perhaps the only innocent soul left, despite being at the center of one of the longest and bloodiest vendettas in history.

In Sin City, in the very, very broadest terms and with an extremely loose definition of the word "good", the good guys win. Marv finds justice in dispensing of pain and blood, but it is justice. Hartigan, in the name of the law and love, finds justice in sacrifice. Dwight and Gail protect the way of life of the Old City, and it just so happens that a whole mother-loving pile of bodies gets left in the wake. Elija Wood, good old Frodo Baggins, gets whats coming to him with a smile on his silent lips. That was such a wierd sentence to write.

The cinematography is dead-on. Some panels of the book look just like the movie. Some panels of the movie look just like the book. The attention to detail is remarkable. The Woman In The Red Dress's eyes glow green for the second that a lighter is held to her cigarette. The transition from two-color monochrome animation to four color movie (black, white, gray, and blood) and back is seamless. Only on a very few occaisions can you tell that the background is green-screened, when the motion doesn't 100% synch up. Even so, 99% synch rate is pretty damn good.

Although there were...two... five...ten.... uhm.... seventy-odd murders in this movie, and pretty much every main character (and even some hot supporting characters) end up soaked in blood at one point, this is still a marvellous set piece, beautifully crafted, and filled with characters as rich and colorful (if the tiniest bit wooden *cough*Madsen*cough*) as any you are likely to encounter. I recommend this for anyone who likes film noir, violence, or that feeling in your stomach when your entire life has led up to a single hard decision, and you go with what your heart knows is right, and the world can go fuck itself if it doesn't agree.

10 out of 10.


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