Sin City (2005)

Cannibal teens, psychotic hookers, talking dead bodies, yellow skinned child rapists, and a disfigured psycho with an affinity for trench coats. The third corner of hell? No, it’s all mundane in Sin City, thus is the oddities presented in the Frank Miller created series of graphic novels. Miller set forth a legacy in 1991 when he created a series of incomparable visionary graphic novels called “Sin City” which had no superheroes, no intergalactic madmen, and no demonic entities, only the horror of mankind and the back alleys of the worst city in the world.

Miller created a dark grim neo-noir series that would forever be revered among comic book creators, and when this movie was set to release, I never read any of the issues. While, being a hardcore comic geek I was aware of Sin City, I had never read the novels, and I bought them as soon as possible, and I wasn’t disappointed. Perhaps it’s something within mankind the series reflects, taboos that Miller tackles within the smoky haze, never-ending darkness, and introversion amidst the heroes whom are constantly teetering over to the dark side to justify the means. One thing Frank Miller mastered with this series was though the books basically examined evil men fighting evil men, you could easily distinguish which people were fighting for a good cause and which people weren’t.

“Sin City” is an amazing series of comic books with incredible stories of crime and vengeance and director Robert Rodriguez presents a 99 percent accurate depiction in his adaptation of the hit series. Rodriguez sacrificed a lot for the sake of converting the series to the big screen and having Miller along with him directing at his side, they created one incredible piece of filmmaking that will surely become a classic. For years, even to this day, pretentious bookworms still like to refer to comic books as nothing but a kids medium with nothing to add to intellect or even imagination, but Miller basically proved them wrong turning a kids medium into an versatile medium with series and stories worthy of literature.

Sin City is not for kids, and as evident by the R rating, Rodriguez does not shy away from the violent content featured so prominently in the book. For people who have yet to read the books, they’ll be disgusted and simply offended by the violent content featured, but the violent content does manage to bear a relevance in the books presenting the grim atmosphere present only in noir. And perhaps the most annoying of the crowd of skeptics and critics are the neo-feminists who basically dismissed this movie as sexist and misogynistic to women when basically men are depicted basically the same way. Women are hookers, lesbians, and sadomasochists, men are rapists, child molesters, killers, and abuse women. See how it all evens out Ms. L.S. from a certain Entertainment magazine? Well, they’re basically wrong, and ignorant in their ways. Childish, ain’t I?

Rodriguez along with Miller at his side manages to capture the mood perfectly for the book with everything from the comic books adapted on the screen with pin point accuracy, and this comic book fan is pleased. I loved the series, and was satisfied to see Rodriguez stuck true to the source material featuring a world comprised mostly of computer generated effects but manages to accurately capture the mood and dark atmosphere in which the tales take place. The story is set with three segments, all intertwined with one another to make the fluid story of Sin City, all of which is topped off with an amazing all-star cast of actors including Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, the unbelievably hot Jessica Alba, and many other people from Nick Stahl, Benicio Del Toro right down to the bad-ass Powers Boothe, all of which are mixed in the tale of Sin City; and all of the dramatic operas are about vengeance and revenge, not to mention the great opening, and closer, which was the first time I actually enjoyed seeing Josh Hartnett on screen.

I’d have to devote a list to the number of stars who appeared in this film, but it is surely an ensemble piece that even made Jaime King look talented! That’s a feat in itself that Rodriguez and Miller accomplish. The entire cast gives excellent performances and a few performances basically stood out for me, especially a certain Mickey Rourke who is just bad ass as the disfigured Marv who is framed for killing the only girl who ever loved him, and then there’s Clive Owen and Rosario Dawson whom are just great in their segment. The most dramatic of the segments is left for last starring Bruce Willis as retired cop John Hartigan who nearly kills the senator’s son, who happens to be a child killer, and is framed for the crime. The segment includes three good performances from Willis, the unbelievably hot Jessica Alba, and Nick Stahl who plays bad so, so good. I wish he were the villain more often.

The movie, which has been compared to “Pulp Fiction” (I love the books but that comparison is a bit of a hyperbole, and I’m not even a Tarantino fan), is one of the best comic book movies ever made, simply because it keeps the original quality of the book while losing none of the cache from the stories and never compromises Miller’s artistic integrity which Hollywood would have originally done, and Rodriguez as always gives some amazing direction. The storyboards for the film consisted of pages from the actual comic used, and it’s like taking scenes from a movie on to a new movie. Miller always prided himself in being a rebel. Having had many bad experiences with Hollywood, he declared that he’d make his books like movies, and the man is brilliant. Read his work on Daredevil, Batman, and this series, and you shall see. You shall see, my friend. Miller is like a movie director who never was.

If studio execs, my mortal enemy, hadn’t jerked this guy around, he would have made an amazing director, and it took Rodriguez, another Hollywood stalwart to see that. It takes brilliance to notice brilliance, and Rodriguez did much of the movie’s work in his own home studio and really managed to pack a wallop of the movie for fans of both comics and noir, and Rodriguez doesn’t alienate non-comic book fans, he invites people to bask in the excellence that is Sin City, but he does something some studios have yet to do, he honors the fans in the process. Seriously, I can discuss this movie forever, but I’ll spare you the extra reading. I mean seriously, what the hell was up with the actors in this movie? I’m not talking about all the actors, but dear god, what was up? I know the dialogue was kind of corny and didn’t sound all too good on-screen instead of on the page, but dear lord. Michael Madsen, what is wrong with you?

Robbie, why did they even let this guy on the set? He was awful in this role. He has only about two short scenes but Christ he was awful here. This guy looked like he was on a stage production in a small park in Jersey or something. He delivered his lines with a lot of pale emotions and purely amateur mannerisms alongside Willis. What was up with this guy here? He had that “Why am I even here?” look during all his appearances. And then there was Brittany Murphy, dear lord. What was wrong with her in this film? She had no idea how to deliver any of the lines and I just did not buy her little cutesy hot-to-trot act she was supposed to portray to begin with. I don’t buy her cutesy act people fall for, she’s a terrible actor, I don’t care how nice she is, and shouldn’t have even been in this movie. That casting was all so wrong. Is it impossible for this girl to deliver even remotely serious lines without looking like she’s just goofing around? I just couldn’t believe her in here.

Both performances, no matter how short really took me out of the movie and had me basically rolling my eyes in annoyance. I was supposed to enjoy this movie and I was basically embarrassed when these people we on-screen. Put a little effort for god sake. How is it Elijah Wood had no lines and was really creepy looking like Hannibal Lecter’s son, but Madsen and Murphy have lines and just completely botch it? Hot chicks, big guns, bad ass bruisers, what more could you ask for? This is neo-noir for the new millennium baby, and one of the best comic book movies ever made that noir fans will also really enjoy. Yes, the line above was cliché, but I don’t care, this movie rocked with excellent performances, great stories, great direction, and just a hip style that hasn’t been achieved since “Pulp Fiction”. This movie kicks Hollywood in the nuts, and I hope they felt that.