“Hell of a way to end a partnership”
If SIN CITY is anything to go by, then black and white is the new colour. Robert Rodriguez, alongside comic book master Frank Miller has crafted an extraordinary piece of modern cinema that really does have to be seen to be believed. Based on three of the many SIN CITY tales (The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard) the film rattles along at the pace of freight train powered by warp drive. The picture simply does not let up- Rodriguez using ever trick he knows to create a movie that simply has to be the best movie of the year (and boy, we’re only half way through).
Make no mistake. SIN CITY is not a movie for the faint hearted- it earns that 18 certificate. Bloody, violent and graphic, this film bleeds attitude and style from every milky bullet wound. The various beatings, shootings and stabbings, strong they may be, are so OTT if you got through KILL BILL VOL ONE you’ll live through SIN CITY (just). This is the world of Basin City- a place where men take entire bullet clips in the chest and keep on coming. Here, men are men, gun totting, cigarette smoking, beer swilling giants with ever ready shooters, quips and punches. Women boil down into two categories- hookers or strippers. The reports of SIN CITY being a sexist movie really aren’t accurate – the film is full of strong female leads, as ready to blast away with a magnum as their male counterparts.
The movie is a pitch perfect example of film noir- at once strikingly executed (if not overly original story wise) and richly atmospheric. The film looks amazing, with Rodriguez and Miller picking out colours in a very exacting way- the rich reds of blood, the deep greens of a girls eyes all mean something and all draw attention to an element of that character. Shot mostly on blue screen, the film avoids the pitfalls of the recent STAR WARS prequels by not drawing overt attention to the background elements of a shot, whilst at the same time ensuring each frame presents something beautiful and new. Indeed, thanks to computer technology, this is a film noir that really is black and white, not a dingy grey, giving SIN CITY a unique look that is instantly its own, as well as paying due respect to its comic book, noir roots.
The film is also a triumph of casting. Not one actor or actress, not one, puts a foot wrong. From the rightly praised Mickey Rourke (in an astonishing turn as loveable thug Marv) to that girl from 2FAST 2FURIOUS, the film feels like a genre picture from the forties, when big stars were often seen in the same movie. Indeed, the wattage on display here could power Disney Land for decades, with Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba all pulling off performances that are clearly them at their best.
The enthusiasm for the film from its directors, especially Rodriguez is obvious and infectious. His credit as having ‘Shot and Cut’ the movie sounds so damn cool it should be legally tagged on to every movie, ever. And that is what SIN CITY is- one cool cookie. Luckily, the style doesn’t outweigh the substance. The three story structure is coherent enough to keep things feeling like one movie, not three, but separate enough to be distinct. There is a real through line in the movie that goes from the adrenaline blast that is Marv’s ‘The Hard Goodbye’ to the more ensemble ‘The Big Fat Kill’ all the way to the final, most complete chapter, ‘That Yellow Bastard’. The comparisons with PULP FICTION are only so valid- both films have three separate stories, both have Bruce Willis in them, but SIN CITY is a very different beast. Quentin Tarantino, popping up as guest director (guess where film fans) acquits himself well, but this is clearly Rodriguez and Millers baby, and boy do they do it justice.
SIN CITY is a non stop, kick ass, raging typhoon of a film. Packed with sex, guns, women, guns, car chases, death, guns, grenades, samurai chicks and the occasional appearance of guns this is very much the sort of film cinema junkies like me dream of. When a film is filled with so much flair, is so visceral and entertaining, so much damn FUN, I am inclined to make a noise about it. Go and see SIN CITY, go and see it again, buy the DVD then begin to pray for a sequel.
Overall, I quite enjoyed SIN CITY(!), and no, there isn’t anything wrong with it. Enjoy!