You need not have read Frank Miller’s graphic novels to enjoy Sin City. However, if you don’t have a stomach for violence (even when a lot of the blood comes in milky, whiteout-like patches) or an appreciation for dark humor (the kind that turns an inner monologue into a hilarious conversation with a dead guy), then you probably won’t “get it.” The movie is a Frank Miller graphic novel come to life. It’s black (not grey, black) and white with flashes of red. It’s Sam Spade dialogue in a Quentin Tarantino world. It’s the way Batman ought to look.
It’s a crusading cop (Bruce Willis) with a bum ticker trying to save a little girl from a sick rapist (Nick Stahl)… who happens to be the son of a powerful Senator (Powers Boothe).
It’s an angry giant (Mickey Rourke) on a mission to avenge the murder of the only woman who ever gave his ugly mug the time of day… and finding a cannibalistic demon (a really creepy Elijah Wood) and his powerful mentor, the Cardinal (Rutger Hauer).
It’s a pretty boy hero (Clive Owen) trying to save a gang of hookers from the police and the mob when they “accidentally” kill a cop (Benicio Del Toro) and break the truce that keeps the peace.
Loosely woven together, these stories are set in a stunning representation of a dark comic book world. It is as if Miller used his pen and drew the damned thing on the screen in front of you. When there is color, it leaps out of the inky frame and takes on more meaning than it normally would.
As far as the story goes, the middle tale (Marv versus the Cardinal) is the best of the bunch. Rourke’s portrayal of the easily-confused hulk who has a burning need to avenge his “Goldie” is incredible. Bruce Willis winds up playing his specialty–a world-weary, cop who can’t catch a break, going up against enormous odds (John McClane from Die Hard as an old man, basically), but it works. The hooker story is downright hilarious. The scene in the car where Clive Owen is talking to a dead Del Toro is priceless.
Don’t take the small kids. It’s rated “R” for a reason. But if you want some adult entertainment, and you’re either a comic fan or a fan of film noir, this is right up your dark alley.