on April 20, 2005
While it's probably a total cliche to say it by now, Sin City really is a wild thrill ride of a movie, and quite possibly the most entertaining thing that will hit theaters all year. Adapted by director Robert Rodriguez from Frank Miller's graphic-novel series, it's an energetic slab of neo-noir, complete with twisted characters, ambiguous morality, and deadly serious dialogue. For those who thought the Kill Bill movies weren't bizarre or violent enough, Sin City ought to seem like a stylish, action-packed gift from guy-movie heaven. It's filled with negativity, outrageously over the-top bloodletting, and some of the blackest humor known to man, but it all works anyway. I even managed to forgive the incessant voice-over narration, normally a rather lazy device, because it's so oddly poignant and poetic. It's not really that big a deal anyway, because this movie is so impressive visually that the characters could speak in gibberish and I'd probably still be moved to give it at least three stars.
It should be noted right off the bat that Sin City is not a movie for everyone, but if you're the type who would like it you presumably know who you are. IF you like crime movies, especially those filled with action and atmosphere, you will almost certainly get a kick out of Sin City. If you prefer lighter, more "socially redeeming" fare, you may still like it, or you may be overcome with bile filling your throat for most of its two-hour running time. It's all a matter of how willing you are to accept what's going on without asking too many nagging questions like "How exactly did Mickey Rourke just take out ten armed riot cops with nothing more than his fists and a hatchet?" or "is it really possible or even necessary to manually tear off a man's scrotum?". Everything about this movie is utterly outsized, from the themes to the characters to the action, but in the end it's a rousing success at what it intends to do, which is entertain. It's precisely because this movie was so utterly entertaining that I found myself unwilling to nitpick; you'll probably be too busy having your senses assaulted to linger on any problems you may have with the movie. Nothing is more key in movies (or TV, or novels for that matter) than getting the viewer to suspend disbelief, to simply let go and enjoy what's transpiring regardless of the plausibility level. Some of my favorite movies are wildly unrealistic, but at some point when watching them I just decided to go with it. Sin City is one such movie: I realized early on that the events unfolding onscreen bore little to no resemblance to reality as presently constituted; I just didn't care. I went to see this movie with my wife (who is, to put it mildly, not a fan of dark or violent movies), and she may have summed up the experience of watching it the best when she said simply "I was never bored." That, ultimately, is the secret to Sin City's success: it's so gripping to watch that it's hard to care about anything else.
As everyone (and probably their brothers) knows by now, Sin City was filmed using real actors against a black-and-white CGI background with some touches of color added for dramatic effect. It may seem like a gimmick at first, but Sin City is all about bringing the viewer into a sort of parallel universe, so this unconventional device works perfectly. Sin City is a movie dealing with lives on the edge, and it conjures up a delightfully dark, grimy, and gritty atmosphere to go match the depravity of its subject matter. Weighty themes and over-the-top violence abound here, and it's only fitting that the movie's look and feel should be so uniformly haunting. Consisting of three tangentially related stories occurring out of sequence, Sin City brings the viewer into an underworld populated by thieves, murderers, hookers, and dirty cops, and the morality is viewed entirely in shades of grey. In the Basin City of the movie, where the good guys are bad and the bad guys are even worse, violence is often a virtue, or at the very least a prerequisite for survival. If there's one redeeming value to Sin City's cartoonish ultraviolence, it's that it's painfully clear that its recipients generally deserve it.
Anyway, if there's one theme running through all of these stories, it's that of redemption. The protagonist in each tale (Bruce Willis's Hartigan, Rourke's Marv, and Clive Owen's Dwight) is a most unlikely hero (although Hartigan is just a regular cop and therefore not exactly bad, whereas it's clear that Marv and Dwight are murderers), but each finds himself driven to acts of extreme courage and sacrifice in order to see justice done. Sin City portrays a kind of heroism not typically seen in movies (especially big-budget, sanitized Hollywood productions), one that comes from doing the right thing even when it's nowhere near being the easiest thing. Rourke's Marv is probably the most memorable character, a hulking thug with a highly overdeveloped sense of vengeance who managed to arouse some of my sympathy even as he cut a swath of unimaginable destruction through his enemies on his way to avenging a murdered prostitute. Out of the legions of other figures in the movie, the great Benicio Del Toro deserves some special mention as a comically malevolent crooked cop who won't shut up even after he meets his unfortunate end.
Now, although I've gone on too long already, I'd feel remiss if I didn't talk about Sin City's staggering violence quotient. Yes, this an extremely graphic movie, and much of the violence is downright disturbing to watch (Elijah Wood's character being cut up and fed to a wolf is a prominent example, even if much of the violence in that case was implied), but it's just as true that context is an important factor when considering just how offensive such bloodletting is. Now, for one thing, Sin City is meant to be a piece of escapist cinema, so nothing that takes place onscreen should be taken too seriously anyway. After all, no one got offended during the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur cut off the Black Knight's arms and legs; that scene was meant to be funny and it was. Perhaps more to the point, the violence here is so ludicrously over the top from the opening scene that it's hard to imagine any rational person getting too upset. You have to just go with it; if you're the kind of person who makes it a point to be huffy and offended all the time you shouldn't be seeing this movie anyway. 'Nuff said
Frank Miller's "SIN CITY" graphic novels released back in 1991 and 1992 wowed readers when it first was released from Dark Horse Comics. The stories were collected in trade paperbacks with seven graphic novel that revolve around the people of Basin City aka "Sin City". Known for it's use of primary colors of black, white and red, the graphic novel would win many fans over for its dark and violent tone but storytelling crafted by Frank Miller known for his awesome work on the "Batman" and "Daredevil: The Man Without Fear" comic books.
In 2005, Robert Rodriguez, a fan of the graphic novels wanted to make a film based on "SIN CITY" but if only Frank Miller jumped on aboard. After seeing test footage by Frank Miller, it was enough to entice the creator to become co-director of the film and in the end, earned over $158 million worldwide in theater receipts.
In 2005, two DVD versions were released and now, a special 2-disc Blu-ray version which includes the original theatrical and the "recut, extended, unrated" version is set for an April 21, 2009 and all I can say is that this release blows away the DVD versions and easily among the top 10, if not, the top 5 Blu-ray's produced thus far.
So, does "Frank Miller's SIN CITY" achieve perfection on Blu-ray? Read on.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Frank Miller's SIN CITY" is a film that is shot entirely digital via green screen. The digital recreations of Sin City just look dark, grimy but in a technical sense, quite magnificent in capturing Frank Miller's dark and corrupted city with its blacks, whites and reds.
The video which is presented in 1080p (with an aspect ratio of 1:85:1) is just absolutely beautiful as you can see skin pores to absolute detail on the talent but what is more impressive is how digital and realism comes together in harmony. What was more shocking (which you learn from the special features), in certain scenes which you thought talent were acting with other talent, they weren't. Footage of an actor may have been shot eight months ago and then the character that is interacting with another character is shot much later and all work done in post-production.
A perfect example is in "That Yellow Bastard (Part 2)" in which Shellie (Brittany Murphy) and Hartigan (Bruce Willis) are interacting but in reality, the two individual scenes were shot months from each other. It's just amazing how everything seems so fluid.
The picture quality is just magnificent. It's one thing to watch this on DVD and say how beautiful the film looks but when you watch it and see it on High Definition, it just blows away the picture quality of the DVD. Granted, this film doesn't have as many colors as top tier Blu-ray films such as "Transformers" or even "Quantum of Solace" but using the dark grays and blacks with the whites and reds, this film looks great.
As for audio, again this Blu-ray release meets perfection. The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48kHz/24-bit) is just incredible. From the action scenes to the engines of the cars, you literally feel the noise around you. And at the end with Alba and Willis's character, nice touch of the low level bass as your subwoofer just beats. The audio is just great to listen to and the clarity of the dialogue, music and special effects were well done.
If you think the theatrical and even the unrated, recut edition sound good, there is also an audio track to listen to a live recording of the audience at the Texas premiere which sounds great too (I can only hope more Blu-ray releases include that feature).
Overall, "Frank Miller's SIN CITY" achieves perfection for picture and audio quality. Just magnificent!
With Audio and Video reaching perfection, this Blu-ray release does not slouch in special features at all. You are definitely getting your money's worth with so many features included. Features such as:
DISC 1: Disc One (Theatrical Cut) Features: This disc gives you five different reasons to re-watch the original theatrical version of the film and all are worth it!
* All new Cine-Explore - Innovative Blu-ray technology allows viewers to experience a uniquely interactive visual commentary that pushes the envelope. When selected, see picture-in-picture green screen footage and original art synced with the filmmakers' commentary. This is optional and a nice touch.
* 2.0 Commentary with Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller - The commentary between Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller is pretty cool. Miller has lived "SIN CITY", he knows the ins and outs to the city and its characters, so it was great to have this commentary with both men. But mostly for Miller's perspective and knowledge. Very cool commentary.
* 2.0 Commentary with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino - Tarentino shot the burial/driving scene for "The BIG FAT KILL", so he's pretty much in and out for the commentary. Most of the commentary is Robert Rodriguez. Where the first commentary, it was Miller driven, this one is Rodriguez driven and when the the time comes, you hear Tarentino chime in. But it's an interesting commentary as Tarantino doesn't like shooting in digital but because it's a Frank Miller film based on a popular Frank Miller story, he gave it a chance and enjoyed the experience.
* 5.1 Audio Track Featuring a Recording of the Austin Audience Reaction - Definitely a fun addition as you watch the film with the actual audience track with people cheering, laughing and just reactions during the entire film. Sounds great and really gave me another reason to watch the film again and enjoy it. Great addition to this release!
DISC TWO: This disc includes the "Unrated, Recut Extended Version" which has 23 extra minutes and the bulk of the special features.
* All new "Kill `em Good" Interactive Comic Book - Dive into a visually stunning interactive game that puts you in the driver's seat. Exploiting the Blu-ray format in ways never before seen, you finish the story - with guns blazing! For a game, I was quite impressed by the audio quality. Very well done game and using the graphic novels and artwork for an interactive comic book. Very nice addition to this Blu-ray release!
* Four Chapters: The unrated, recut version are viewed as separate films. There are no chapter stops, so you can watch these separate chapters with new, additional footage.
o Chapter One- That Yellow Bastard
o Chapter Two- The Customer Is Always Right
o Chapter Three- The Hard Goodbye
o Chapter Four- The Big Fat Kill
* Rodriguez Special Features:
o 15-Minute Film School - (15 min.) Robert Rodriguez is known for his past DVD releases of teaching the filmmaker of tips of how he accomplished scenes on a budget. This time around, Rodriguez uses "SIN CITY" to show how things are done via green screen but how he did certain things to stay within budget of the film.
o All Green Screen Version - (12:33) This is the entire film sped up in 800% but a good way to see how everything was shot via green screen.
o The Long Take - (14:42) This scene shows how Quentin Tarentino shot the driving scene between Dwight (Clive Owen) and Jackie Boy (Benicio del Toro). Very interesting how this take is long and these guys are just sitting in the car for long periods of time. Interesting perspective on filmmaking with these two talented individuals.
o Sin City: Live in Concert- (7:15) During a break in Texas, Bruce Willis & The Accelerators perform for charity and cast of "Frank Miller's SIN CITY" and "Scanner Darkly" hook up and enjoy the performance.
o 10-Minute Cooking School - (6:21) Director Robert Rodriguez is often working late in the early morning and when he gets the munchies, he loves his breakfast tacos. So, he shows you how to make them.
* How It Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller To Make The Film - (5:40) What it took for Robert Rodriguez to convince Frank Miller to make "SIN CITY" to a movie. Interviews with both men.
* Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino - (7:19) Interviews with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. How Rodriguez was able to convince Tarantino to direct a spot.
* A Hard Top With A Decent Engine: The Cars of Sin City - (7:34) Interviews with Cecil D. Evans (Transportation Coordinator) of finding the vehicles from the graphic novels for the film. Miller owns hundreds of die cast vehicles and used those as reference for his graphic novels. Thus, Evans would go throughout Texas and asking owners to borrow cars for a few days or weeks such as Nancy's 57 Chevy Nomad, Wendy's `55 Porsche Spyder, Dwight's `55 Cadillac and more.
* Booze, Broads, and Guns: The Props of Sin City - (10:57) Interviews with Steve Joyner (Prop Master) and how he followed the "Booze, Broads and Guns" mentality of the film. How certain props looked as real as the original to finding the right bow from the graphic novel in real life and obtaining it and using it for the film.
* Making the Monsters: Special Effects Make-up - (9:04) Interviews with Grig Nicotero (Special Motion Video Effects Supervisor) and creating the makeup for characters such as Marv, Jackie Boy and Yellow Bastard.
* Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes of Sin City - (7:34) Interview with Mona Proctor (Costume Supervisor) going through the various costumes especially for the women like Gail (Rosario Dawson) who wore next to nothing. Very informative.
* Teaser & Theatrical Trailer - The Teaser trailer is 2:07 minutes and the official trailer is at 1:49.
I've owned the previous two DVD version of "Frank Miller's SIN CITY" but watching this on Blu-ray, I'm just amazed how much of a difference High Definition really makes this film look and sound so incredible.
The picture quality and the vibrancy of the reds and golds, the audio quality of weapons, cars and violence with wonderful DTS-HD audio going all around you. This film is just right up there for one of the best releases on Blu-ray thus far.
Again, I understand that other films such as "TRANSFORMERS" and "Quantum of Solace" which were shot outdoors looked incredible while "Frank Miller's SIN CITY" is digital throughout in terms of the cityscape and the overall atmosphere of the city.
And suffice to say, both Blu-ray discs are just packed full of special features and enough to keep fans busy. The first disc alone gives you five ways to watch the film and each reason is just fantastic (especially if you are a big fan of the film and the graphic novels). The second disc was a great touch to add an unrated, recut version.
It would have been nice to have the full theatrical film with the newer footage added to it but overall, the second disc gives you individual chapters and yet again, another way to enjoy this film.
As for parents who wonder if this film based on a comic book is family friendly, despite the fact that blood is seen in various colors, the film is excessively violent and has its share of nudity. So, despite Miller's work with the "Batman" and "Daredevil" comic books, "SIN CITY" is not a film you want to have your kids watching.
In the end, I really enjoyed the film and the Blu-ray release. Sure, it's over-the-top and both Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have had their share of over-the-top films. But there are few graphic novels that I have wanted to see in film and so, seeing "SIN CITY" as a film and with Miller involved and thus making sure the film is faithful to the graphic novels was awesome. And just kudos to Robert Rodriguez who allowed Frank Miller to fully be in control of the film and working together with him and coming up with this unique and stylish film, the two work great together and I just hope to see a future collaboration with both men again.
Finding a Blu-ray release that is just perfect in all four categories of film, video, audio and special features is quite rare. Typically you get two out of four but in the case of "Frank Miller's SIN CITY", this release is just perfect.
Videophiles and audiophiles are just going to love this release while fans of the film are just going to go nuts over the amount of content included on both Blu-ray discs.
"Frank Miller's SIN CITY" is perfect and highly, highly recommended! A+
on July 21, 2005
The concept for this film started in the Comics revolution of the late 60's with incredible artists like Frank Frazetta, Jim Steranko, Neal Adams, and Barry Smith. They knew anatomy, and they used photographs to compose their backgrounds. Pre-Anime, the characters began to "almost" move off the pages. Frank Miller came along in 1978. He helped to inaugurate the adult graphics novels-larger formats, better paper, brighter inks-coupled to nudity and R-rated dialogue. Some of this has been around since the late 50's, but the new format was gathering speed and Miller was in the vanguard.
Miller's graphic novel's about SIN CITY contained art in panels that broke down like very detailed storyboards. When Robert Rodriguez decided to court Miller and sell him on the idea of converting the graphics to digital video-Miller loved it. Their partnership went so far as to have Rodriguez dropping out of the Director's Guild so that he might be permitted to put Frank Miller in the credits as co-director. Rodriguez created a B&W world where color was used sparingly-and for great effect. Blood was white-or bright red. Some eyes were blue. Some hair was blond. Pale green and pale blue showed up on classic cars.
Rodriguez assembled a powerhouse cast. Bruce Willis was first up, to boost the sales of the production and the star power. He was excellent in the film-beginning to appear very Noir-very Chandler and Hammett-a modern Bogart. Using CGI and live actors, Rodriguez was able to do most of the work in his homegrown studio in Texas. Miller created a world part pulp-novel, classic cars-and part hyper-violent martial arts and splatter film. Everybody smoked, many of them drove a ragtop-they could shoot guns with both hands simultaneously-and women, regardless of how far they had fallen-were still treated with respect. More than an adaptation of Millers comic book art-it is literally his artwork brought starkly to life. The effect is original, violent, sexy, existential-and very effective.
The film worked off three Miller "stories"-and the best of the three-THE BIG FAT KILL-starred Mickey Rourke. He can think of this film as his return to the big time. He is brilliant. His character, Marv, is perfectly fitted for this new genre-and his acting, and the action he precipitates-blows all the others in the film out of the water. This may be Rourke's finest performance. He has been a pro boxer, as well as actor-and he needed that physical prowess for this role.
Everyone in the film was impressive-with the likes of Clive Owen, Powers Boothe, Rutger Hauer, Nick Stahl, Benicio Del Toro, Elijah Wood, Michael Madsen, Josh Harnett, and Michael Clarke Duncan all making love, murdering, or slapping around women like Jessica Albo, Jamie King, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, and Brittany Murphy. One critic wrote," This is a Mickey Spillane fever dream!"
There is a rumor that in the director's cut RR will include some deleted scenes that he shot to flush out all three of the Miller stories. It appears that a sequel is imminent-absolutely necessary. Most of us can't wait for the next installment-to cruise Old Town, prowl the Roark farm, beware of the warrior hookers, love the hot babes, dodge the bullets and swords and knives, and stare at those great cars.
With any luck Frank Miller's "Sin City" will inspire a new genre of filmmaking - a literal union between filmmaking and the world of comic books/graphic novels. I know, I know, there have been countless films inspired by the world of comic books which have attempted to recreate the chills and thrills. Not one of them - even the best (e,g,, Spiderman series, Tales from the Crypt, etc.) has been remotely as successful as the creative team that gives us this brilliant, jarring, vision.
Rodriguez, Miller and company obviously put themselves (and the cast) through painstaking paces to assure every frame, every emotion emoted by an astonishing array of live talent is instilled with the gritty, graphic hyperrealism of the world of Frank Miller. It is a breathtaking achievement which, alas, will go unnoticed and be underappreciated by many who don't "get" this world.
The cast is nothing short of remarkable: Mickey Rourke gives his finest performance since Barfly - maybe ever. Bruce Willis has never given a better performance than the retiring cop, Hartigan. Everyone involved is obviously relishing having the time of their lives. Outside of Shakespeare I can't imagine anything currently more theatrically over-the-top and satisfying than being associated with Sin City.
For many the violence will be of too gory and graphic in nature (gorygraphic?). Others will enjoy the rough ride but also be appreciative of the often stunning beauty of so many of this film's images. The final tale in the trilogy of stories that make up the movie is shot with the cool and chill of winter bathed in a snow storm of such exquisite beauty that I don't find it difficult to say it is among the most beautiful images I've seen in any film. Ever.
on April 1, 2005
I'm fourteen by the way. Stumbling upon comic books in the 6th grade, I read such graphic novels like, Hellboy, the 30 Days of Night trilogy, Hellblazer, and the League of Extraordinary Gentleman, I stumbled upon Sin City. I read the third of the Sin City books first, The Big Fat Kill, just this January and I loved it! So then I read all of them in about three days and fell instantly in love with the series. They're my favorite comic books.
Reading Sin City is like watching an old black and white crime movie or film noir to say the least. It's a crime comic that rivals Batman and Daredevil.There are no super heroes in the books only: prostitutes, ex-convicts, losers, crooked cops and politicians, psyhcopathic cannibals, tough guys, dames, hitmen, and a yellow creature called the Yellow Bastard. Sin City, also known as Basin City, is populated by these colorful characters and their vignettes. Sin City is where dreams and hopes can come true if you have enough money or are rich enough to pay for these things to happen. It's also a town of redemption, love, lust, sex, violence, and tragedy. Each story, each book, is like a Greek tragedy or a Shakepeareian play but instead with sex, action, snappy dialouge, neo-noir style, and of course gallons of blood and gore.
Which brings me to the film. I'd like to say a big thanks to Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino for directing this masterpiece. This is the truest adaptation of a comic book ever to be put on the big screen.
Sin City, the film, is action-packed, darkly funny, sexy (Jessica Alba is a babe!), gruesomely violent (one of the violentist movies ever made), and the most entertaining film I have seen this year, not to mention the best! The movie is kind of like a 21st century Pulp Fiction, because there are intertwining story lines in it. The film is based upon Frank Miller's most acclaimed of his graphic novels: The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, the short story, The Customer is Always Right, and That Yellow Bastard, my favorite of the series.
The film starts out with a bang; a prolouge, The Customer is Always Right. A hitman (Josh Hartnett) and his potential victim (Marley Shelton) fall in love and then Shelton gets a hole blown into her. This sets up the movie for the wild roller coaster ride that is about to come.
The film starts off with the part of the story from the Yellow Bastard, than we move on to the Hard Goodbye. Marv (Mickey Rourke) is a tough as nails hulking giant who has a face uglier then the Hulk's. He sleeps with hooker, Goldie (Jamie King) and discovers that she is the love of his life. But Marv finds, out while sleeping in bed with the hooker, that she was killed by cannibilistic Kevin (Elijah Wood). Marv, very pissed-off, goes on a manhunt looking for his dead lover's killer, bringing down crooked cops and hitmen with him. With the help of his parol officer Lucille (Carla Gugino)Marv will get his revenge one way or another.
The next story, The Big Fat Kill, is about how Dwight (Clive Owen) tries to protect his girlfriend Shellie (Brittany Murphy) from crooked cop and binge drinker Jackie Boy (Benecio Del Toro). When the cop goes too far, by mingling the balance of the Old Town prostitute system, he is killed by Gail (Rosario Dawson) and Miho (Devon Aoki)and several of the girls of Old Town. When they find out what they've done and the events they have put into action, it's going to take a lot of time to figure out this mess with the mob and cops of Sin City, and Dwight is going to have to take out Old Towns trash.
The last story of the movie, That Yellow Bastard, is about how Hartigan (Bruce Willis)a detective with a bum-ticker, who is retiring in one hour, tries to go out with a bang by trying to save Nancy Callahan (younger: Makenzie Vega, older: sexy Jessica Alba)from rapist/pedophile and son of crooked Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), Junior (Nick Stahl). Hartigan puts Junior in a coma, framed for the crime of raping Nancy, shot down by his partner Bob (Michael Madsen) and is too, put in a coma. Several years later, Hartigan is in prison and gets out. He tries to save Nancy again, who has become a stripper at a Bar, from Junior who has, after years of plastic surgery, been transformed into the hideous Yellow Bastard. Will Hartigan prevail?
Sin City is a triumph in comic-book movies and cinema. It is interesting the way Rodriguez executes the feel, look, and style that is Sin City, creating the visuals and backgrounds that makes up Basin City; with the help from the creator himself, Frank Miller and the stylish direction of Tarantino.
The best performances in the movie are from these actors: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, Rutger Hauer, Powers Boothe, and Nick Stahl, who I think did the best job than any other actor in the movie; it was his break-out performance.
Although Sin City isn't for everyone's taste (I know that because my mom nearly ran out of the theater screaming) the film is awesome and visually stunning. If you're a fan of the books, like movies that have intertwining story lines, movies with action and blood and gore, movies with snappy and funny dialogue, neo-noir genred films, black-white-and colored films, or just like watching a breathtaking and shocking movie, Sin City is probably for you. It'll make you cringe, it'll make you gasp, have you on the edge-of-your-seat, and make you laugh. The movie was for me, and I'm only fourteen!
WARNING: Do not bring your little children to this film! When I went to the theater there was at least four families that brought their six to seven year old kids to the movie, and they cried and screamed through-out because of the violence, subject matter, nudity, and sex (there is only one sex scene in te movie). Please leave your little'uns at home with the sitter; they put they spawned MPAA rating for a reason folks! And a another thing: watch this film ONLY if you have the stomach to take it in. Even though the scenes of violence are stylized and usually in black and white, it is still pretty intense! Even though I've read the comic and knew what was going to happen I shut my own eyes a couple times. Be ready for beatings, gunshot wounds, stabbings, explosions, castration (yes it's shown), brains being blown out the side of people's head, people being hit or shot at with baseball bats, bow and arrows, hatchets, swords, sledgehammers and whips, decapatation, fist-fights, martial-arts violence, blood squirting out at a rapid pace, intestines, brains, human-flesh and gore, cannibalism, strangulation, and vomiting. You've been warned.
on December 3, 2014
Just a warning to anyone who may not know - I was disappointed to find that this 1-disc Blu ray release does not include any of the extensive behind the scenes featurettes that have been included with other Sin City releases. I used to have the DVD set years ago, and it didn't occur to me that the special features included with that release would not be included on this Blu ray. It appears that they are available on the 2-disc set that contains multiple versions of the movie, so if the special features are an important consideration for you, definitely go with that one. This version does have 2 commentaries, the "audience reaction" audio track, and a "Cine Explore" feature. Of course, the theatrical release of the movie is the same, so if you are a fan, then you know what to expect from the movie itself. I hope that this info may be helpful.
When the movie title appears, the lighting becomes dim and the audience receives its first glimpse of the evil portrayed on the screen.
Frank Miller's Sin City is highly stylized and very violent. It is based on a graphic novel, but is also reminiscent of film noir of the 1940s and 50s. This is evident in the use of voice-overs, crime and the personalities of the characters. The extreme loyalty of the film to the novel is refreshing after so many disappointing adaptations such as The Hulk and Daredevil.
The film was praised for staying true to its roots. The novel was often superimposed into shots of the film to make the two as identical as possible.
The characters are stereotypical representations of what one might expect from a bad neighborhood. All of the men are murderers, even the police. There are good guys and corrupt ones and their clashes result in death most of the time. The women are strippers or prostitutes who use violence to take care of themselves or who utilize their men to do the dirty work for them. The cast is exceptional with stars such as Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, Benicio Del Toro and Nick Stahl. The characters are highly controversial and they hardly depict role models which is cause for some to question why such famous actors would want to be part of such a project. Director Robert Rodriguez said, "Actors want to create memorable characters; they don't want to play themselves in movies over and over again."
The story itself is presented in layers. There is a short story with Josh Hartnett that acts as the very beginning and the end of the film. It is based on the short "The Customer is Always Right" and was created as a vehicle to sell the film to producers. The compelling story starring Bruce Willis ends and returns again after the two center stories. It is based on the short "That Yellow Bastard." There are two middle stories that only have one segment each. One called "The Hard Goodbye" stars Mickey Rourke as a Hulk-like do-gooder that constantly faces trouble. A second non-returning segment stars Clive Owen and is based on the short "The Big Fat Kill." Each story revolves around a man's love for a woman.
Rodriguez was ejected from the Screen Actor's Guild for breaking one of the rules with Sin City, working with one or more co-directors.
Quentin Tarentino appeared as a guest director and was paid only one dollar for his contribution. The style of the film is reminiscent of Tarentino's own work. The chronological structure of the film is similar to that in Pulp Fiction. There is even a homage to Reservoir Dogs when a man's ear is shot clean off. Tarentino's own fame has brought conflicting ideas about which scene he directed. The general consensus seems to be that he probably directed a relatively unimportant scene.
This film is not for the weak at heart nor is it for women who easily get offended by films that might seem to degrade them on the surface. This film contains violence and female nudity. The nudity is not excessive and makes the film realistic.
Violence is the most obvious element. It is so abundant that the film almost received a harsher rating than the R rating it received. The visual effects aid this dilemma. They make the amount of blood and the severity of the violence less intense. Some might say that the extremity of the violence is used to generate publicity. Male genitals are attacked several times throughout the film and cannibalism is an addressed issue. Each of these adds to the shock value. The film has been scrutinized by some for being too violent, but creator Frank Miller said, "Chuck Jones got criticism for violence!" referring to the creator of Wile E. Coyote.
The visual effects were so unrealistic, they had to be done on a green screen. The film was shot in color and was later changed to stark black and white through a digital process.
USA Today outlined the seven cardinal rules of movie-making that Sin City broke. These rules included never making black and white movies, never using voice-overs, never having blatant sexuality in a comic book movie, never using several directors, never making beautiful actors uglier, never excluding famous actors from having dialogue and never relying on green screens for the bulk of a film.
Overall, Sin City seems to be a hit or a flop with people with no one in between. The sexuality, violence, and unusual film-making are certainly refreshing elements even if they shock instead of thrill.
on April 1, 2005
Traditional Film Noir meets Robert Rodriguez in this epic dramatization of Frank Miller's Graphic Serial, "Sin City". The resulting picture is visually astounding and hauntingly dramatic.
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller take us on journey through three separate stories that ultimatley intersect through out the movie. The stories include a man-hunt for the killer of a "Perfect Woman", an aging cop about to retire who has to complete that one last bust, and a group of women who rule the area of Basin City called "Old Town".
The direction and editing of this movie are no less than we would expect from Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez reminds us that he is extremly good at what he does. The whole film is shown in Black and White and seems to take place in the 1930's, preserving the feel of Noir. To give it a modern twist, colors and cell phones were added in. We see a woman in a red dress standing at the edge of a balcony, a man who's so evil his skin has turned a putrid yellow, and other more subtle touches, such as Alexis Bledsole's eyes and the flashlight as it shines on Clive Owen's face.
The over-the-top acting deserves an A+. If it were any other cast, I'd think it was just bad acting. However, the A-List stars have taken the film "to the next level" (Sorry, I had to throw a Spy Kids quote in). It adds a fantasy feel to what otherwise would just be another dramatic movie. It is similar to the acting in Molholland Drive during the dream sequence. Probably the best perfomance is done by Mickey Rourke as Marv, I didn't even recognize him st first. Hopefully Marv can do for Mickey what Cap'n Jack Sparrow did for Johnny. Elijah Wood also shows us that he can be more than just a "Hobbit from the Shire".
This movie contains strong violence. A man is beaten to death, and another is fed to a dog. There are suggestions of Child Molestation, Prostitution, and a couple of characters use Religion to justify cannibalism. Though there are some bloody sequences, most use a bright white goop to signify blood, looking more like a bird pooped on them. Like Kill Bill, body parts are sliced off non-chalantly, but unlike Kill Bill, it's kept below 100. There is also some tongue-in-cheek comic relief. Watch for the bow and arrow scene.
Viewers who enjoy this movie will also like both Kill Bill Movies and "Pulp Fiction", by "Guest Director" Quentin Tarantino and "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" or "Desperado", Robert Rodriguez. You may also want to check out some other Modern Noir Films like "Molholland Drive" (David Lynch) and "Never Die Alone", as well as Tradtional Film Noir flix, "Sunset Boulevard", "Notorious", and "The Maltese Falcon".
All in all this movie is a must see for Film Noir and Rodriguez/Taratino Fans alike.
The nights are cloudy, the alleys are dark, the men are dangerous, bars are smoky and femmes are fatale. "Sin City" is a thing of dark, bloody beauty.
It certainly says something if a graphic novel author helps out with a movie... especially if that creator swore he'd never let it be adapted. That is only one of the things that makes "Sin City," the adaptation of Frank Miller's comic, such a fascinating film.
"Sin City" is actually made up of three stories: In the depths of Basin (Sin) City, scarred hulk Marv (Mickey Rourke) sleeps with a beautiful prostitute, Goldie (Jaime King), only to find her dead beside him the next morning. Enraged, he goes on a killing spree to find her murderer, and learns that sinister cannibal Kevin (Elijah Wood) is responsible. But there's a powerful figure behind Kevin, who calls the shots.
Elsewhere in Sin City, Dwight (Clive Owen) does his best to defend Gail (Rosario Dawson) and the other Old Town prostitutes. But when Dwight kills a crooked cop, he has to somehow cover up the crime. And Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a cop with a failing heart, goes out of his job with a bang: He rescues little Nancy Callahan from a child molester who happens to be a senator's son. Hartigan is jailed, and when he gets out, he finds that Nancy (Jessica Alba) has grown into a lasso-twirling stripper. But the senator's son -- nicknamed Yellow Bastard -- is still after her.
"Sin City" is one of those few comic book adaptations that doesn't seem... well, cartoonish. Sure, it's the very image of noir, but the grim tone and grey characters are very real. It's not a movie for the fainthearted, but whoever enjoys the films of Quentin Tarantino (who directed one scene here) will surely be blown away.
Like "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," this film is done almost entirely digitally. But unlike "Sky Captain," it has substance as well as style. All the sets and props are done with computers, and nearly everything is in black and white. Here and there we get a splash of colour -- red lipstick and matching dress, Yellow Bastard's face, green eyes.
The contents of three "Sin City" comic books are interwoven here, and Rodriguez is constantly faithful: A lot of these shots could have been lifted straight from the comic's pages. He also preserves the stark, black-and-white style that the graphic novels are known for. You can't get much more faithful than that.
"Sin City" is not quite a "Kill Bill" bloodfest, though -- surprisingly, this brutal movie has a dark sense of chivalry. Each story is about an outcast man defending a woman's honor, safety, or memory, even if he sacrifices himself in the process. "Sin City" wears its heart on its sleeve, even if that sleeve is bloodstained and torn.
Most of the actors do wonderful jobs -- Owen's dark photographer, Rourke's scarred strongman, Stahl's revolting Yellow Bastard, and Alba's surprisingly sweet stripper. Only a few, like Brittany Murphy, have lackluster performances. But perhaps the most memorable performances come from Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood. Willis plays his aging cop role with unusual grace, even when shooting the genitals off Yellow Bastard. And Wood plays Kevin with both creepy evil and spiritual ecstacy. All without saying a word.
"Sin City" is a remarkable, bleak, intense movie -- a halfway point between Tarantino and Raymond Chandler. An outstanding piece of work.
With the appearance of SIN CITY (I managed to see it at a preview the day before general release), we have what is easily the finest adaptation yet of any graphic novel. Not merely that, this amazing film replicates the visual excitement, dynamic vitality, and dramatic stylization of the genre. SIN CITY isn't merely based on Frank Miller's film noir graphic tales, but an astonishingly accurate translation into a new version. For that reason alone the film would stand out as one of the more remarkable films of recent years.
Thankfully, SIN CITY is much more than a mere screen equivalent of some superb graphic tales: it is by any standard a film of the front rank. The success can be traced primarily to two individuals: director Robert Rodriguez and writer Frank Miller. Most fans will know that Miller has long resisted having his works turned into film, until Rodriguez sent him a brief test piece that would have knocked the hesitation of even the most sceptical author. Miller's stories pay homage to the entire film noir and hardboiled tradition that began with Dashiell Hammett and BLACK MASK magazine (and its imitators) and has continued all the way until today with contemporary masters like James Ellroy, but he also gives each story a remarkable twist, while embedding all in a mythological setting. Rodriguez's genius is in finding effective means to reincarnate these stories digitally. I have been a fan of Rodriguez ever since I saw EL MARIACHI when it first came out, a film that I still consider the best no-budget film ever made, and despite the cost of the film one that will stand comparison with most of the big budget films ever made. I have followed his subsequent career with both delight and dismay, as he did a shockingly inferior Hollywood remake of EL MARIACHI in DESPERADO that was a pale imitation of the original, and then made a string of movies that were either good (the first two SPY KIDS films), interesting if uneven (FROM DUSK TIL DAWN), or perplexingly unsuccessful (DESPERADO and ONCE UPON A TIME N MEXICO). None of these seemed to fulfill the enormous promise of EL MARIACHI. This one does. This is the kind of film that possibly signals the emergence of a very promising director to the level of a great one. The movie truly is that good.
The film features an impressive cast, but this is not an actor's movie and they add less than one might expect. That is not to say that they are not used well. Indeed, Rodriguez uses all of the superbly. Some are almost unrecognizable under various prostheses, in particular Mickey Rourke and Benicio Del Toro, neither of whom you would know was in the film unless made aware of it. This film, in fact, represents something of a comeback for Rourke, who started off in the early 1980s as a hardboiled performer who seemed to have stepped off the pages of a Jim Thompson novel. We've seen Bruce Willis do good things before (in addition to a lot of bad things), so his excellent job as a used up cop almost manically dedicated to preventing a young girl from being raped and murdered is no surprise. Clive Owen, on the other hand, has been better in the past and will be better in the future. One brilliant bit of casting was putting Jessica Alba in a key role (I'll skip the name because it would involve a spoiler). I've always argued with friends that although Alba is without question one of the most stunningly attractive women in movies today, she is oddly not very good at being sexy. Sure, she is sexy in that she has a face and body that are improbably perfect, but instead of radiating sex, she always manages to radiate sweetness and innocence. You see her at length and you inevitably end up thinking, "You know, she seems like she has to be a really sweet soul." That quality comes out here as well, and it tremendously adds to the believability of the story line of which her character is a part. One actor whose presence is memorable even though it involved little contribution on his part was Elijah Wood as Kevin, who looks like a blend between a nerd and a manikin, but fights like a super ninja while sharing some of Hannibal Lecter's less appealing dietary habits.
Each of the three major stories that are intertwined in the film revolves around a primary character acting as knight-errants. In his foundational series of detective novels and stories, Raymond Chandler conceived of Phillip Marlowe as the modern, cynical embodiment of the medieval knight dedicated to fighting for damsels in distress. Miller embraces this ideal completely in the three stories found here. In Bruce Willis's sequence, he sacrifices everything to protect the innocent young Nancy. In Mickey Rourke's amazing Marv sequence, a thuggish, seemingly indestructible, hideous brute of a man expends everything in order to avenge the death of a woman who has shown him a tiny bit of affectionate attention. Clive Owen plays a man who struggles not merely for one woman but for a whole group of women. Who said that chivalry is dead?
Notice that I have gotten this far without saying anything about the technical innovations of the film. Most will know that SIN CITY was primarily filmed by actors in front of green screens, with all of the backgrounds added through CGI. SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW did this, though Rodriguez went so far as even to use digital cameras for the actors. Some reviewers without having seen the film (look at a couple of the earliest reviewers here on Amazon, reviewers who clearly haven't seen the film) are so bothered by this that they automatically dismiss the film. In fact, Rodriguez uses the CGI with great virtuosity, always using it to enhance and devolve the story, never to call attention to itself. The CGI does give the stories much of the feel that one gets reading a comic, such as when Marv attacks two would-be hit men, shoving one into a brick wall, causing an indentation in it. Unlike SKY CAPTAIN, however, the focus was always on the story and the characters, and not on the CGI. The distribution company (Rodriguez is essentially his own studio, he and his wife operating on their own in Austin, Texas) complained about the film being in black and white, but it was a perfect choice. There is a considerable amount of colorization, most of it to great effect. For instance, in the opening sequence, a man is talking to a woman and mentions her eyes, and at the word "eyes" they go from black and white to a subtle green.
I honestly feel that this film represents a turning point in several ways. First, it might represent the complete shift from Robert Rodriguez from promising director to a full-fledged master. Second, it could be the film that provides the model for all that follow in the correct use of CGI. Third, it could serve as the pattern for future adaptations for the filming of graphic novels. But all that aside, people need to see this because it is one of the best and most original films of the past couple of years.