One of my fondest high school memories is being in the tenth grade and skipping school to catch the first showing of Sin City in theaters. I remember walking out the theater with the elated feeling of having seen a true cinematic masterpiece that had pushed the boundaries of CGI, adaptations, and comic movies as a whole. It smashed all my expectations and truly went above and beyond. Mickey Rourke shined as the confused, regret filled chaos-causing Marv, who was looking for redemption. It was a much needed meaty role that breathed life into his (at the time…) impish career and the Sin City role transitioned Rourke straight into the masterfully played The Wrestler (Academy Award Nomination.) Frank Miller’s writing popped on screen like never before, and Robert Rodriguez’s directing proved he’s still a renaissance filmmaker in the digital age.
Sin City #1 intertwined three stories, all set in the seedy, underbelly world of “baSIN CITY.” The three leads Dwight (Clive Owen), Marv (Mickey Rourke), Hartigan (Bruce Willis), portrayed good men all trying to do the right thing have to turn to their wits, and resources to survive while saving their city. It worked well because it was an ensemble film, which relied heavily on it’s source material, and I personally feel is one of the greatest pieces of literature I’ve ever encountered. With that being said, it is honestly a truly dark and engrossing story, while being captivating at the same time.
It’s a solid movie but sloppily executed at times, and the stories connect as we weave in and out of timelines lapsing from the first one. Sin City #2 picks up where the last one left off in 2005, while most of it takes place before the first one occurred….(If that makes sense, believe it or not, it’s a prequel & a sequel AT THE SAME DAMN TIME). It’s kind of confusing, and this is coming from an avid fan who truly admires the series, has read the books, and remembers the order. With all that going on, the casting is what truly threw me for a ringer mid-viewing. With the introduction of Texan accent-having Josh Brolin picking up where British actor Clive Owen left off, it became quite a bit of a head scratcher when I had to associate them as playing the same character. That storyline has the weirdest explanation of Why DWIGHT looks like DWIGHT in the first one because the storyline in the second one is a prequel!
The film works for what it is though, pure entertainment celebrating the works and writings of Frank Miller. The execution of some of the panels are truly mesmerizing and flourish brightly within the first ten minutes during Marv’s monologue. There’s a shot where digital cars whiz around Marv’s scattered brain as he has difficulty recalling the nights occurrences, and querying as to why he’s currently covered in someone else’s blood. (I mean seriously if I had a dollar for every time…Am I RIGHT?!) I digress, but the shot is really innovative and just plain fun. Joseph Gordon Levitt supports the film as the card wielding and dealing Johnny who can’t protect himself to save his life…literally. Joseph proves that he is a force to be reckoned with and probably a future action star. His story was fun, though I didn’t understand why his character did the things he did. It’s like he didn’t know that actions have consequences.
Stylistically, I feel that the film had a little too much CGI at times, in comparison to the first one because it was apparent they built more sets and peppered in cool backgrounds. This one at times totally ditches sets, and just goes FULL CGI and it’s a strain on the eyeballs at time! At times the floors are fake, and you can’t trust anything you see as far as onscreen chemistry. I read that Josh Brolin & Mickey Rourke’s characters who have a full on action scenes together, were never in the same room, nor even met during filming. They share the screen during many moments, but hey that’s the magic of cinema! Watch the film… you’ll be glad that you did. Sin City is a nice ‘safe’ departure from the dark seedy city that you’re currently living in. Or so I hope.