“The truce of Sin City will be shattered. There’ll be arrests, there’ll be deaths. Nothing can stop this,” said Manute in the midst of Old Town of Basin City.
I can still hear the Sin City End Theme composed by Texas writer/director/everyone, Robert Rodriguez played in the credit of That Yellow Bastard segment—deceiving me for I thought the film ended in about 40 mins. Yet, I must admit that Sin City—adapted from Frank Miller’s Eisner Award winning comic series—is a phenomenon. With a huge, sterling casts and perfect directors (Rodriguez and Miller) and a special guest director, Quentin Tarantino, Sin City is a single-portion of bento with glorified stylized world and perfect green-screened noir direction that is best served cold. Care for a smoke, anybody?
Sin City is a kind of film which is barely ‘watchable.’ Shot in black and white with some splash of spellbinding colors is one thing; the whole story and the presentation are the whole ‘unwatchable’ factors. The setting is in fictional Basin City—a city owned by corrupted governments and filthy criminals; half of the city is ruled by prostitutes and the sun never shines (as far as I concern). With Rodriguez’s lo-fi cinematography, the whole abhorrent world of Sin City comes alive and kicking.
Sin City is told in pars pro toto; devicing some of the city’s most notorious residences to entangle four different stories portraying the most corrupted and sinister sides of Sin City. The first chapter That Yellow Bastard (that tricked me like a fool) focuses on old cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) on rescuing and protecting Nancy (Mackenzie Vega/Jessica Alba) from a perv Roark Junior (Nick Stahl), son of the powerful Senator Roark. The Customer Is Always Right is a story of a hit-man/salesman (Josh Harnett) on killing women. The Hard Goodbye is about Marv (Mickey Rourke) wages a revenge upon the death of her lover, Goldie (Jamie King). While the fourth chapter The Big Fat Kill (guest-directed by Tarantino for $1) focuses on Dwight (Clive Owen), a murderer with a new face, who teams up with Old Town’s prostitutes led by Gail (Rosario Dawson) to cover up the murder of Jackie O (Benicio Del Toro). Except The Customer Is Always Right, all stories are entangled to each other in one moment—meaning to say, there’s no protagonist or antagonist, but Sin City itself.
Aside from the unique visuals and complicated crime tales, is a riding of R-Rated film with helluva gory fun and sexploitations (that is developed later in Tarantino-Rodriguez’s Grindhouse) as a homage to Frank Miller’s witty graphic novels and good old grindhouse cinema. The lo-fi monochromatic violentertainment and Texas down-to-earth scoring enhance the experience of gory fun to cover up the blood (that later inspires the Showdown at House of Blue Leaves in Tarantino’s Kill Bill). There’s almost no close-to-reality experience there in Sin City, that’s why it’s fun and it’s hilariously good. For some sensitive audiences, this grandiosity of R-Rated cinema reflects a glimpse of misogyny or high-degree of sexism; I must admit such claim, by the way; yet, I take a hard grip on the thought of ‘no close-to-reality’ in Sin City and compensate the negative sides on the magnificent visual ‘candy.’
By far, Sin City is seemingly Rodriguez’s greatest masterpiece (I do enjoy his blood-soaked Mesoamerican vampire franchise From Dusk Till Dawn though) and, most obviously, it’s a proof that Frank Miller’s a great graphic-novelist whose stories and visuals can stammeringly be transferred to screen. Since Rodriguez is a no anti-sequel auteur, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For might be another sinful fun, eventually.
Sin City (2005)
Crime, Thriller, Adaptation Running Time: 124 mins Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino Written by: Frank Miller Starred by: Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Nick Stahl, Josh Hartnett, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Devon Aoki, Michael Clarke Duncan
Stills and references by: IMDb