Movie Review: Sin City. Visually Stunning But Brain Dead.
Robert Rodriguez has transferred Frank Millers crime comic book noir to the silver screen using real actors and digital sets. In doing so he has advanced digital film noir to a new level. The film is mainly in black, white, silver and gray with splashes of color used for maximum effect. The main characters are Jessica Alba (Nancy), Devon Aoki (Miho), Alexis Bledel (Becky), Powers Boothe (Senator Roark), Rosario Dawson (Gail), Benicio Del Toro (Jackie Boy), Michael Clarke Duncan (Manute), Carla Gugino (Lucille), Josh Hartnett (The Man), Rutger Hauer (Cardinal Roark), Jaime King (Goldie/Wendy), Michael Madsen (Bob), Brittany Murphy (Shellie), Clive Owen (Dwight), Mickey Rourke (Marv), Nick Stahl (Roark Jr./Yellow Bastard), Bruce Willis (Hartigan) and Elijah Wood (Kevin).
This sounds like a lot of principal actors, but the movie was adapted from three separate Miller stories and runs for 2 hours and 6 minutes. The stories are not separate vignettes but all are interwined stories that are related a la Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Tarantino also directed the car scene with a dead Jackie Boy giving directions which also is reminiscent of the car death in Pulp Fiction. However while there are a few parallels with Pulp Fiction the film stands on its own.
Basin City is a place ruled by corruption and criminals.
Bruce Willis pays a good cop trying to save Jessica Alba from a serial killer, Yellow Bastard. Intertwined with this are two other stories involving Mickey Rourke a good/bad guy trying to go straight and avenge the death of a beautiful woman who was kind to him and the Sin City prostitutes led by Rosario Dawson who are trying to preserve their old town turf against crooked cops like Benico Del Toro, crime lords and crooked politicians. This film has a lot of violence and a lot of beautiful woman in various states of undress. All the characters are simplistically drawn and so is the noir plot line, as one would expect of a story drawn from a comic book. While Robert Rodriguez has lovingly recreated a comic book on film with great skill and talent that’s all it is in the end. If you like crime comic books with lots of action and beautiful woman then this film will be a treat. However the story line is simplistic and the characters are not subtle but caricatures. Mickey Rourke has infused his character Marv with the most emotion. However the other characters are so sharply drawn as either pure good or pure evil that the actors are limited in what they can do with their roles. All that said this film is worth seeing as a beautiful example of the genre. However it is eye candy and not brain food.