Sin City - 2005
Sin City was written and co-directed by graphic novel/comic book legend Frank Miller. If you know that name then you’re guaranteed to love this movie. His co-director is none other than Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and, yeah, Spy Kids), bringing his trademark brand of violence. The story was adapted from Miller’s Sin City Graphic Novel series. This movie is categorized as a neo-noir crime anthology, since it’s a compilation of four stories set in the Basin City. This movie also has a huge cast and arguably three leads that somehow each stands out on his own.
The Yellow Bastard (Part I&II) This story follows veteran detective Hartigan, played by Bruce Willis, as he tries to stop a serial pedophile-murderer. This movie probably marks the last time Willis tried in a movie. Willis is currently on a serious “sleep walking through a movie“ streak, and re-watching this movie made me miss him. He was the man in the late 80’s and the 90’s. Come back to us please. Willis is battered, tired and alone for most of his screen time. He has one of the best lines in the movie in “I take away his weapon. [shoots Junior’s hand] Both of them. [shoots Junior’s groin].
The Big Fat Kill This story follows Dwight, and I’m not sure what he is, maybe an “every man” type or a man trying to do the right thing when he sees a wrong in the world. He is wonderfully played by Clive Owen when he was at the height of his powers. He gets dragged into a turf war between the mafia and the prostitutes that run Old Town. This is story line has many bad guys that meet their ends, but the stand out is Benicio Del Toro as Jackie Boy. They have an incredibly entertaining conversation in the car as dead Del Toro is busting Owen’s b**ls on how he is going to let everyone down like he always does. This scene was directed by Quentin Tarantino, and it shows.
The Hard Goodbye This story follows career criminal Marv, played by Mickey Rourke, as he goes on the war path trying to get revenge for Goldie, the last woman who showed him love. Rourke, buried under a mountain of prosthetics, still managed to give his character a deep human element needed for the audience to connect with this murderer. You watch him go from killing hit men to killing one of the, if not the, best villains in the movie, Kevin, played by Elijah Wood, to cutting off the head of the organization (literally), and you are rooting for him the entire way. This is by far my favorite story and the one that I most remember thanks to the unique hero and the villains. Rourke also has a great line towards the end:
Priest: ...ask yourself if that corpse of a slut is worth dying for.
Marv: Worth dying for.
Marv: Worth killing for.
[shoots him again]
Marv: Worth going to hell for.
[shoots him again]
Sin City shouldn’t be called a movie since it is really a graphic novel brought to life. The voiceover narration plays like the novel does, helping to set situations and character motivations throughout the movie. The visual effects are amazing and even though it was done in 2005, nobody has been able to improve or even effectively mimic this style again. There are many scenes that are straight-out pulled from the novels and they look 100% the same. The use of color is beautifully done, from highlighting a pair of beautiful green eyes, to having the hero’s blood be bright red and contrasting them with the villain’s blood being white. All choices are pleasing to the eye and adds to the story.
What I love about this movie is that despite the ultra-violence, the dark themes they touch (cannibalism, pedophilia and corruption within the catholic church), the central theme is about doing the right thing in the darkest moments. You see our three main characters go through hell as they try to right a single wrong in a world full of them. At the end of the day they don’t save the world, but they save their soul and the ones of the people they try to save. As they go from violent encounter to violent encounter they are questioned as to why they keep moving forward, all of them justifying their action because other people are depending on them.
Sin City is by far one of the most entertaining movies you will ever see. It is visually satisfying, leaving moments imprinted in your head that you just want to talk about with your friends (I don’t have any. That’s why I started this blog). This movie works thanks to the great work from Miller that it’s based on and it thrives thanks to the visual effects Rodriguez employed. The torture scene between Wood and Rourke is why I love movies.
Sin City is currently streaming on HBO Go. A blogger writes a blog. A great movie gets watched. A fair trade.
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