Any phrase that begins with the word “visually” and ends with a superlative adjective could be said about Frank Miller’s Sin City. Be it “visually invigorating,” “visually arresting,” or “visually inventive,” Sin City is truly an orgasm for the eye. However, Sin City not only appeals to your sense of sight, it also allows you to feel for its captivating characters, hear the intriguing thoughts of its voiced individuals (multiple characters do not speak at all), and taste the finest adaptation of a comic-book/graphic-novel ever put into motion.
In a city full of murder, prostitution, cannibalism, and rape, three separate storylines chronicle the ways of Marv (Mickey Rourke), Dwight (Clive Owen), and Hartigan (Bruce Willis). Based on The Hard Goodbye, Marv is out to take vengeance on the man who killed a prostitute – who gave him the night of his life – named Goldie (Jaime King). Derived from The Big Fat Kill, Dwight helps a group of girls, who forcefully keep their streets clean, conceal the murder of a crooked cop named Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro). And finally, with That Yellow Bastard, Hartigan, an aging cop with a “bad ticker,” tries to protect a young girl named Nancy (Jessica Alba).
Sin City is, by far, Robert Rodriguez’s shining feature. At the very mention of his name, Sin City should crawl from the very cusp of your cerebellum right to your lips. Movie fans everywhere must learn to forget the futile time he spent working in three-dimensions, with both Spy Kids and The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and remember Rodriguez for his more generous deeds–like providing viewers a setting so unfamiliar, yet blissful, in Sin City. Also, after the Director’s Guild gave him slack for making Frank Miller – the author of Sin City – a co-director, Rodriguez immediately handed in his resignation. Now, if that doesn’t define commitment and class, what does?
Quentin Tarantino also makes a “special guest” appearance in the director’s chair. Responsible for the scene in which Dwight is driving to “the pits” and talking to Jackie Boy’s corpse, Tarantino wanted Jackie Boy’s Pez-dispenser-of-a-head to have an affect on his speech. Also in this scene, Tarantino directed Dwight to verbalize his thoughts, instead of using a voiceover; this way, the scene stands out and seems all-the-more surreal. With Tarantino’s garnishes and Rodriguez and Miller’s meat and potatoes, Sin City is a modern-day Pulp Fiction and a feast for comic-book noir buffs.
For those who appreciate cult classics, Sin City deserves the status. While its three-pronged storyline – jolted with brilliance – is enough to push you to your knees, its brute force and style are enough to knock you flat—face first into the mud. Sin City is as gritty as a mouthful of sand and as machismo as The World’s Strongest Man–dripping with adrenaline and infused with a drum full of anabolic steroids.
Throw all of the trash talk – concerning sexism and nihilism – down the drain, and immerse yourself in this wet, stark, and insanely satisfying endeavor. If it is a stylistic sock to the jaw and the darkest, most unabated work of the year you yearn for, then search no further; Sin City is the remedy for every cinematic woe attributed to uniformity. (**** out of ****)