Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez / Script: Frank Miller / DP: Robert Rodriguez / Editor: Robert Rodriguez / Music: John Debney
Cast: Jessica Alba / Devon Aoki / Alexis Bledel / Powers Boothe / Rosario Dawson / Benicio Del Toro / Michael Clarke Duncan / Josh Hartnett / Rutger Hauer / Michael Madsen / Bruce Willis / Clive Owen / Mickey Rourke / Elijah Wood
Sin has seldom been so pleasurable…
An enduring classic from Robert Rodriguez, Sin City is a stylish neo-noir compendium of tales was developed in collaboration with their author, Frank Miller, from his original graphic novel. The results are wholly successful, with a variety of hard-boiled turns from Bruce Willis, Benicio del Toro, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson and a galaxy of others.
The tall tales illustrating life in this Sin City are firmly rooted in a noirish milieu and are deliriously, deliciously ludicrous as a result. Seldom has mutilation appeared so seductive (and that’s a sentence I didn’t expect to write this morning). They successfully blend the sensibilities of Seventies Grindhouse, with schlock and awe, into an artistic expression that’s purely cinematic. This is, I suppose, unsurprising, given Rodriguez’s form in this genre. Respect then, for a Director who can flip from this, to Spy Kids…
Use of colour-splashes against the high-contrast B&W accentuate the mood of Sin City, with framing and composition echoing Miller’s original panels. The sets (a variety of grimy inner-city blocks, bars and all-points-in-between) have a loose NYC mise-en-scéne (here named ‘Basin City’), but Rodriguez’ and Miller’s vague sense of time and place only serve the piece further. This is a dark, mean-spirited world, whose general populace is seldom seen. Instead, we get an endless parade of grifters, drifters and pocket-book lifters. Frank Miller’s vision is largely translated to the screen intact and is a vibrant place to witness.
Miller & Rodriguez delivered a belated sequel in 2014 (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), NINE years after the original. I haven’t seen it, so can’t comment directly, but a quick scan on MetaCritic tells me all I really need to know. It turns out you really can revisit the well once too often. Leave it long enough and chances are, it might even be dry…
She doesn’t quite chop his head off. She makes a Pez dispenser out of him.