movie reviews (omadhaun47) wrote,
movie reviews

Sin City (2004) - *****

Starring Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke. Directed by Frank Miller.

Synopsis - Marv (Mickey Rourke) goes looking for the people who killed his "true love", leaving a hell of a lot of violence in his wake, Dwight (Clive Owen) tries to help cover up the death of a police officer, and a cop (Bruce Willis) has to track down the people responsible for the disappearance of a little girl who worships hiim.

Music - The music was excellent, exciting dramatic score, perfect for a comic book movie. As usual, Robert Rodriguez did most of the music writing. A pretty proficient musician himself, he has always done most of his own composition. Here he had some help, but then again this is a bigger project than anything he’s done before.

Acting - The acting itself was interesting because it's exaggerated in the same way that everything else is. It's deliberately macho, deliberately feminine, deliberately villanous, etc. While you realize that Roark's little monologue about lying would never be delivered by a real person, you realize that it would be delivered by a person from a 1950's noir flick, and that's why it's valid. The cast in this movie is ridiculous. While there are only a few "main" characters, a lot of A and B list stars were cast in minute roles, like Brittany Murphy, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Benicio del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Josh Harnett, Rutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Elijah Wood, and Nick Stahl.

Frank Miller, the author of the original graphic novels, consulted on this film, and RobRod brought in pop cinema guru Quentin Tarantino to “guest direct”, whatever that means. This film was unique to the blossoming world of comic book movies for several reasons. Most importantly, it was shot basically using the original comics as a storyboard template. You can find the exact shots that were used in the film in the novels. Secondly, it was black & white, and with great detail and exaggeration, giving it a sort of over-the-top film noir feel that touched on a number of genres ranging from Private Eye flicks to actual Film Noir to your standard romance and drama, with frequent touches of comedy. Not only were the dialogue and voice-overs exaggerated, but the characters themselves were physically exaggerated a great deal. Mickey Rourke was dressed in a totally grotesque body suit and face mask that defies description unless you’ve seen Dick Tracy. The element of the cinematography that most immediately grabs everyone’s attention is the selective coloring. The movie was filmed in black and white, but mainly in front of a green screen, so about 75% of the film was done digitally on the computer in post-production. The “gimmick”, if you will, was to include one piece of vivid color within a frame of black and white. While the choice of colored objects didn’t seem to hold much meaning, it was just attention-grabbing and was used generally to draw one’s eyes to a corner of the screen either to divert attention or attract it.

The overall narrative form of the movie was also very interesting, being formed in a very typical Tarantino manner as a series of chronologically disjointed vignettes. Although Tarantino had relatively minimal involvement with the project, this film, like many of Rodriguez’s films (except Spy Kids), is an unabashed Tarantino wank-fest.

Although it has occurred to me of late that Sin City owes a great deal to Warren Beatty’s 1990 film adaptation of the Dick Tracy comic strips. It would be tough to explain unless you’ve seen both films, but it’s abundantly clear that Bruce Willis’ character as well as Nancy are borrowed. Willis is like a twisted Tracy, and Nancy is a busty, female version of The Kid, a younger wannabe stricken with hero worship. Not only that, but Mickey Rourke’s physical transformation is more than a direct nod to the makeup techniques used in Dick Tracy, where every bad guy was physically distorted in some way or another.

Other movies starring these actors
Bruce Willis - Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, The Whole Nine Yards, Four Rooms, Pulp Fiction
Jessica Alba - Idle Hands, Never Been Kissed
Clive Owen - Closer, King Arthur, Croupier
Mickey Rourke - Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Thin Red Line, 9 1/2 Weeks, Rumble Fish
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