OK, I’m not going to waste anyone’s time here. In a mere two paragraphs, I shall explain exactly why it is you should never waste any of your hard-earned cash on seeing this excercise in mental masturbation by usually reliable names. If it saves you even a few pounds/dollars/euro, I’ll consider my work done. Here goes:
Everybody I have come across who’s seen it raves about how much it’s like the comics. I suppose this is something to do with comic book author Frank Miller’s involvement in scene selection, storyboarding and direction. I would generally say this was a bad thing, not something to be celebrated. Let’s say you’re a massive fan of the band Talking Heads (and why wouldn’t you be, they were awesome) and you went to see a show. If it was just like the album, track-for-track and if you closed your eyes you could be at home listening to the album, you could have conceivably saved a few coins and done just that. Remaking something frame by frame (see: Psycho (1960)) does not make it good, it makes it artless and cold. On the subject of ‘art’, the film opens with a scene in black-and-white, where the girl’s lips and dress are coloured bright red. A nice effect and a good use of green-screen technology. It would stand very well in music video but when it’s dragged out for over two hours, with various bits coloured for whatever effect they were attempting to achieve, it becomes pretty tiresome.
The story is deliberately noir with cheap-looking matte backgrounds and props and the actors dressed in pseudo-fifties costumes. Fine, a bit of pantomime, why not? the joke is pushed a little too far and any minute, i expected the curtain to lift, the colour to kick in and to feel overwhelmed by a sense of not being in Kansas any more. The narration is supposed to be in the style of Sam Spade but just serves to accentuate the fact the actors are hamming it up. I wouldn’t mind if it was supposed to be funny – either that, or I missed the joke. The men are all rugged (except Kevin (Elijah Wood), who’s the best thing in the film by a country mile), the women are all sexy and are dangerous, giving them the kind of pseudo-empowerment that you could only get away with in cinema. All in all, it looked very much like director Robert Rodriguez was trying to emulate Tarantino, who also guest directs a short segment. It’s all jobs for the boys and nobody benefits. Overall, Sin City (2005) tries very hard to be clever, populist and indie and fails at all three.