Saturday, July 16, 2005


[long, gushy post]

Before Ratti smothers me in my sleep for using l33t-speak, I have to say that I am being ironic. I just wanted to get your attention and express some of my excitement and awe at the film I saw last night. That film? Sin City, people! If you are in any way interested in comic books, graphic novels (not to say they're always two different things, but you have to pander to snobs from time to time) or the craft of movie-making then you must, and I can't stress this enough, MUST GO AND SEE THIS FILM!


It has long been known by my circle of friends that I intend to one day track down Robert Rodriguez and eat his brain. The man is scary-talented. He can write, direct, edit, score and produce. He's even put together some special effects. I swear half the credits on Spy Kids were "Robert Rodriguez". It is true that all of his films haven't exactly been Academy Award materiel (the aforementioned Spy Kids, for example), but they are always fun and injected with an energy and enjoyment factor that directors/editors/writers/producers with ten times his experience in the industry are at a loss to match.

And now we have Sin City.

Based on a graphic novel series of the same name by Frank Miller, who was creditted as a co-director because Rodriguez used the comics essentially as storyboards and followed Miller's vision so closely, the film is made up of three interweaving (if not connected) stories set in Basin "Sin" City. This film is dark, violent, stylised, violent, funny and violent. Really violent. Limbless, still-alive bad guys being eaten by wolves violent. Then again, so are the comics, and with the stylised nature of the film, the violence is shocking but, I feel, not traumatising.

The casting was superb. The male leads in the two stories (and apologies to the feminists out there, because these are primarily male stories, even the ones centred around and featuring some pretty tough and independent females) perform brilliantly. Bruce Willis as Hartigan and Mickey Rourke as Marv are excellent. They manage to pull off the cheesy, noir dialogue effortlessly and are the perfect embodiments of their characters. Clive Owen as Dwight looks the part, but his line delivery is maybe 80-90% on the money. It's definitely there, but just not there enough to stand comfortably beside Willis and Rourke. The female leads are similarly excellent with Carla Gugino sexy and cool as Lucille, Marv's parole officer, Jessica Alba an awesome mix of naivete and strength as Nancy and Rosario Dawson sexy and dangerous as Gail, the leader of the girls in Old Town.

Also worthy of note are the totally creepy Kevin (Elijah Wood)and utterly odious Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) and about a thousand other cameos and bit-parts.

Primarily shot against green screen, Rodriguez squeezes every drop out of the CGI technology he has used. The overall palette of the film is black and white, with splashes - often literally - of colour so a red dress or spray of blood stands out garishly against the monochrome background. The violence, when it comes, is extreme and, usually, deserved. Jackie Boy especially gets quite a collection of serious injuries. Having just read a couple of the trades, I could easily recognise where Rodriguez and Miller had gone shot for panel with the source materiel, and those bits that did differ fitted seemlessly into the overall design. Jeanette Scott's art direction is nothing short of amazing. This is a beautifully ugly film. Oh, and I have to get the soundtrack. Way cool.

Chatted a bit with Tim after the movie and he was a bit disappointed with some of the bits they left out. However, they did shoot all three stories in their entirety, they just couldn't fit it all in the movie, so roll on the DVD release and the director's cut! In case I haven't been clear enough, I loved this movie!

Criticisms? Well, Clive's not-always-convincing delivery (as I said) and some hamming from the supporting ladies and gents (some of the Old Town girls possibly chosen more for eye candy value than acting talent?). Also, the dolly shot of the girls blasting away the goons in the alley really showed how poorly some of them handled their weapons. Surely, with the production values of this film being so high, an extra week or two of instruction in how to handle their firearms wouldn't have been too much to ask for. Similarly, I think a couple of the direct comic-to-screen shots and lines might've done with a little tweakette. Not a lot, and there were only one or two, but there was a little lost in translation here and there.

Anyhoo, that's probably enough from me. Just go out and see the damn film, wouldya!

Four and a half dismembered villains out of five!

[/long, gushy post]


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