Movie Review
Sin City
Sin City poster
By Craig Younkin     Published April 2, 2005
US Release: April 1, 2005

Directed by: Frank Miller Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Jessica Alba , Rosario Dawson , Elijah Wood , Bruce Willis

R
Running Time: 126 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $74,098,862
D+
It has no story to speak of other than to show how decent its heroes are and how deranged its villains are, while keeping us from caring about them.
"Sin City" is the big cast, high concept movie that 2005 has been awaiting. How could one not get excited about a trailer with such outstanding visuals, plus a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Michael Clarke Duncan, and the lovely Jessican Alba? Names like Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino only sweeten the deal. Rodriguez is the man responsible for some of the best action entertainment of the 90's: "Desperado," "From Dusk till Dawn," and "The Faculty." Frank Miller is the creator of the "Batman" comic books and "Sin City" graphic novels. The look he gives to "Sin City" is so mysterious and cool that Rodriguez admirably fought hard to make sure Miller got a director's credit. And Tarantino... well, we've heard enough about him over the past year.

"Sin City" opens with an entrancing shot of the city, bringing to mind some of the best 40's noir films like "Dick Tracy," except this one was done in black and white and it helps. Suddenly a woman in a richly red dress comes out onto the terrace, followed by a charming looking fellow. What follows looks and sounds like poetry, a totally passionate confrontation that is done with ease and style. This is the height of cinema right here, and we realize that the film can either stay on this romanticized plane or go downhill.

It goes downhill. The stories are based on three of Miller's graphic novels. One is called "The Hard Goodbye," in which we meet Marv (Mickey Rourke), who is a parolee with an ugly mug who was treated with kindness by a prostitute named Goldie (Jamie King). When Goldie ends up dead, Marv goes on a hardcore revenge rampage, torturing and killing everyone involved until he gets to the guy who did it, Kevin (Elijah Wood). I assure you the character Wood plays is much cooler than the name. The next story is "The Big Fat Kill," in which Dwight (Clive Owen) bands together with the prostitutes of "Sin City" to stop a war from happening with the cops. And the last story is "That Yellow Bastard," in which Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a cop with a bum ticker, must stop a serial rapist (Nick Stahl) from getting what he wants - Little Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba).

"Sin City" is obsessed with looking cool. The make-up, the sets, the camera-angles, and the use of shadows and colors really bring this world to life in a way that most comic book movies don't. Only this is the kind of empty and pornographically brutal movie that I fear Hollywood is moving towards day by day. It's pointless, gory, over-the-top violence capped off with shallow characters. Characters get hacked to pieces, shot several times, beaten over the head and hit with cars just because it looks cool combined with the stylish black and white, white on black, and colorful images.

It has no story to speak of other than to show how decent its heroes are and how deranged its villains are, while keeping us from caring about them. There were many comparisons made early on that this film would be the next "Pulp Fiction." "Fiction" had character development and clever ideas, whereas "Sin City" revels in its own violence and lack of emotion, and shirks its responsibility to develop a story or characters. This is as much a movie as it is a snuff film - there is no enjoyment on any level besides on the surface.
Craig's Grade: D+
Craig's Overall Grading: 339 graded movies
A10.9%
B41.9%
C31.6%
D15.3%
F0.3%
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'Sin City' Articles
  • Scott's Top 10 Films of 2005
    January 7, 2006    What I really love about {Sin City} is that it pushes the boundaries of cinema; love it or hate it, you have to admit that you?ve never seen anything like it. -- Scott Sycamore
  • Scott's review A
    April 12, 2005    This movie is a big neon middle finger to all those who think they know what movies should be like. -- Scott Sycamore
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (4/1)
    April 2, 2005    Its durability will be very questionable, and considering it?s even more of a cult film than Kill Bill, it stands a chance of dropping like a rock. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Weekend Outlook Chat (April 1 - 3)
    March 31, 2005    I have a feeling this is going to be similar {to Team America}: the film could play really well in specific cities, or college towns, but not so great elsewhere. -- Staff of LMI
  • Craig's Spring Movie Preview
    February 27, 2005    Filled with danger and mystery at every turn, this is one of the greatest looking trailers I've ever seen. -- Craig Younkin
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