FBMR - Sin City
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

SIN CITY (2005) ***1/2

In film and literature, sin often seems to appear so cool. This could either be a commentary on our society or on our own human nature and desire. Regardless, our lust for sex, violence, and revenge (not to mention a dark sense of humour) is the drive behind this Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller film.

Based on the Millerís graphic novels, Rodriguez takes the film noir genre and injects it with a dose of the 21st century. Shot entirely against a green screen and mostly in black and white, the film is visually stunning and stays true to Millerís vision. Itís seems to be set in some bizarre parallel time where the misogynistic attitudes of classic film noir exist and are exaggerated, but also where vehicles transcend era, from 1950s Cadillacs to modern Ferraris. The women wear very, very little, if anything at all, and always seem to require a man to save them in their state of distress. We are introduced to three such men and their struggles to make wrongs right. They donít employ the use psychology or gentle communication. These three heroes, whose missions are very loosely connected, use guns, brute strength, and enough graphic violence to satisfy any 15 year old maleís fantasy to seek revenge, to fight corruption, to save the innocent.

Hartigan (Bruce Willis) is a cop on the trail of a ruthless child molester. When the identity of this predator is revealed, Hartigan knows that justice will not be served. This perversion of justice forces him to take the fall himself, the only way to save the eleven year old girl. Marv (Mickey Rourke) is not an attractive man. He is an ex-con on parole. Heís a somewhat delusional, self-deprecating beast. Yet after one night of carnal bliss with a girl he calls Goldie (Jaime King), he wakes up to find himself framed for her murder. To honour the only girl to ever show any interest in him, he vows to uncover the plot behind her death and make the true killer pay for what happened to his Goldie. Dwight (Clive Owen) tails Shellieís (Brittany Murphy) abusive ex-boyfriend, Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) into Old Town, Sin Cityís red-light district. Yet when a smarmy undercover cop gets killed, the truce between the prostitutes of Old Town and the law enforcement is threatened, much to the delight of the corrupt police force. Amid an army of tough, yet sexy, gun-toting prostitutes, Dwight takes charge of the situation, trying to cover up the death of the undercover cop.

The actors already mentioned reveal a large and talented cast. Now toss in Jessica Alba, Elijah Wood, Michael Clarke Duncan, Nick Stahl, Alexis Bledel, Rosario Dawson, Michael Madsen, Carla Gugino, Ruther Hauer, and Josh Hartnett and youíve arguably got the largest ensemble of superstars and up-and-comers together in one film. I couldnít believe my eyes when I saw the cast list. And to top it off, Quentin Tarantino is credited as a special guest director. Itís almost a sin to have so many big names in one film, and this sin never looked so good.