#96: Sin City

“Eyes on the road, man.”

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Year: 2005
Genre: Action

Rodriguez’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, Sin City, is hands down the best comic book adaptation to hit the big screen. Why? Because it’s not just faithful to Miller’s work, it literally IS his work. Rodriguez brought Miller on as co-director/producer to help lift Sin City from the page and to the screen without hurting the material. An exact adaptation? That sounds a bit pointless and boring. Well, not everyone reads comics AND I would argue that Rodriguez’s film adds further life to Miller’s world and, *shock horror* I may even prefer it to the comics.

The film boasts quite a large and colourful ensemble cast including Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, and Bruce Willis only to name a few. The variety of talent here clearly understand the genre they’re working with and are able to give their caricatures enough pepper to make them memorable and, for some of them, even iconic.

What’s the point of it all? “Everything and nothing.” It’s an ultra-stylized, hyper-violent, neo-noir about corrupt cops, hookers, the mob and serial killers. Classy trash. A decadent romp. It’s probably every conservative parent’s worst nightmare. Film Noir deals with sordid characters and seedy underbellies and Sin City is noir at its most fantastical and dirtiest. It is a comic book movie however, which means it’s more playful than disturbing.

If you enjoy Rodriguez’s other efforts and/or the works of Quentin Tarantino then this is a must-see. In 2003/2004 Tarantino released Kill Bill which was his most hyper-real film to date, the kind of movie the characters from his previous films would watch. Sin City is a similar project for Rodriguez except where Tarantino paid homage to old-Martial Arts and Western films by shooting old-school, that is on film and without CGI, Rodriguez did the opposite. Rodriguez took the old genres of Film Noir and Exploitation, blended them together and presented them in a fresh, contemporary format. Sin City was shot digitally, mostly against a green-screen in order to achieve its unique moving comic-book look. The harsh black and white scheme with splashes of extreme colour is an effective yet familiar look for a comic book but on the big screen it can be quite wild and experimental.

There are many reasons to watch Sin City. You may be into comics, someone who’s interested in digital filmmaking, or you may just be up for some ballsy entertainment, whatever your prerogative, if you’re not a prude and you’ve not seen this film, watch it!

PS. Elijah Wood plays a psychotic cannibal!


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