Most experts believe that when we dream, we dream in black and white. If that’s the case, when Frank Miller dreams, that black and white world is splattered with red violence and yellow fear and the gray that accompany the inner turmoil of characters straddling good and evil. In “Sin City”, the film adaptation of three of a series of Miller’s graphic novels of the same name, Robert Rodriguez duplicates the essence of those dreams and takes the art of film to a place it has never been.
In a panel by panel homage to the art and vision of Miller, “Sin City” rips the ink right out of the comic book and injects it into your bloodstream. Clearly influenced, if not replicating, the spirit and cadence of classic film noir, Miller’s stories are visceral and ache in the pain of the anti-heroes of each of the three stories. Told in a disjointed “Pulp Fiction” style timeline, the three stories are always held together by the dark, wet backdrop of Sin City itself.
Bruce Willis plays a half-dead cop wanting to do the right thing for a young girl one last time at any cost. In the second vignette, Mickey Rourke transforms himself brilliantly into a gentle, lumbering chunk of violence searching for vengeance and beauty in the filthy hole that is his world. Lastly, Clive Owen channels a reluctant hero caught in a web of violence and obligation. Each character is flawed and fractured and ultimately human in an extraordinary way. Littered with an amazing blend of talent surrounding them, all of the characters in “Sin City” bleed, cry, kill and die like only good comic book characters can.
Dripping with stylized film noir dialogue and syrupy, tactile visuals, “Sin City” transports the audience into the world of the comic, and blends the two art forms in a way that has been attempted many times but never accomplished. However, this is a film that will either be loved or hated. “Sin City” is excessively violent. Rodriguez doesn’t flinch the camera from scenes that, although cartoonish in nature, are at their core depraved. The dialogue also can seem campy if the vision of what the film is trying to be gets lost.
Ultimately, “Sin City” is like no other movie you have ever seen, and will most certainly go down as Rodriguez’s best film to date. It is bare, and bold, and necessary. In the end, Rodriguez shows us Miller’s “Sin City” dream world and creates something new and disturbingly exciting in the process…