Sin City

scThere are some films that play with color to make a point about the comic nature of their source material. (Dick Tracy) There are films that use green screen technology to fill out the entire world with few practical sets. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Star Wars prequels) And then there’s Sin City, a movie that pushes the limits of the cinematic image to the limit making the human characters look almost like animations, even though they were actually photographed. In this movie, everything is so… singular. The bulk of the images are black and white, with occasional shocking, overwhelming splashes of color. The vehicles are all (I think) computer generated. And all of this is in service of the vision of Frank Miller’s graphic opus, Sin City.

I’ve never seen a film look more like the drawn image of a comic book. And I’ve never seen an adaptation of a comic (I’m sorry, graphic novels) that was so fricking dark. Man, I don’t even want to get into the imagery that they put on screen.

All that said, there are still impressive performances from living, breathing actors on display. Bruce Willis adds to his collection of “I’m getting old, so I might as well lean into it” roles. Clive Owen makes us wonder what he would have been able to do as James Bond. Mickey Rourke is… he’s just plain awesome. As is Elijah Wood in a role that is so far from Frodo it’s funny.

With a Pulp Fictionesque structure, a short intro leads to the first of three vignettes which intertwine ever-so-subtly. The Hard Goodbye, That Yellow Bastard and The Big Fat Kill could each have been a movie on their own. Seeing them together feels like an embarrassment of riches. I’m actually quite nervous that the long-awaited sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For can’t possibly match its predecessor in quality.

Jude Ciccolella was in Sin City with Carla Gugino. Carla Gugino was in…

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