Inherently Different


Film Noir died sometime after the French discovered it. Like most things that the French suddenly cling to, American audiences ignored the genre and the various attempts to resurrect it. The French are always two days late and a dollar short. Think I’m wrong? Two words for you… Jerry Lewis.

But I digress. Frank Miller, possibly the most innovative comic book creator to ever pick up a pencil, took everything that made Film Noir famous and splashed it across the pages of comic books with fascinating results.

The Sin City series was, by and large, a comic opus. It wove stories and characters that walked a tightrope between good and evil, never revealing which side of the fence they’d fall until the final panel. Miller’s talent as an artist and storyteller was perfectly showcased in the comic book medium, but how well would it translate to film?

That’s the question many studio heads asked before putting the kibosh on any treatment presented for a celluloid version of Miller’s baby. The Weinsteins, Bob & Harvey, saw past the problems and focused instead on the visionary director Robert Rodriguez’s success for making something from nothing. Imagining what Rodriguez could do with something must have painted big fat dollar signs in their eyes.

Fans of the Sin City comic books might have a few bones to pick, but for the most part, what worked on the page, translates quite well, and in some cases much better, on film.

The cast reads like a who’s who of Hollywood’s A list with a few new hot up and coming properties thrown in just to make sure all bets are covered.

Bruce Willis is in top form, which is to say that he gets the girl and kicks ass. For me, it would be enough just to see Bruce doing what he does best, but he is far from the best thing about the movie. Clive Owen, Nick Stahl, Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, and Elijah Wood do their respective characters justice, but it is Mickey Rourke who continues to surprise movie goers with his versatility and ability to steal scenes. Rodriguez obviously has a soft spot for the big palooka and Rourke delivers with zeal in his turn as behemoth tough guy Marv.

Not all the casting is flawless though. I’m not sure what happened to Michael Madsen, but for god’s sake, someone put that fat bastard out of his misery. He slept through his few lines and would have been unwatchable had he not shared screen time with Bruce Willis.

Overall Frank Miller and Rodriguez find the right balance, never letting the movie get away from them and becoming the kind of farcical schlock that almost ruined the batman franchise. In the wrong hands Sin City could have been something quite different and not nearly as entertaining. Instead, Miller and Rodriguez bring back the dark, foreboding sense that makes Film Noir one of the most revered celluloid genres to ever grace the silver screen.

8 thoughts on “sin”

  1. I’m so going to see this today; I hope it lives up to the reviews! I’ve never read the comic, but the BF has – I think he’ll be disappointed because he’s such a *coughgeekcough*.

  2. I think this question deserves a timeline since my perception of her has changed:

    1995 Clueless: Soft, round the way girl. Up and coming actress.

    1996 Freeway: Soft, road hard and put away girl. The trials of living in Hollywood are taking their toll.

    1999 Drop Dead Gorgeous: Hmmm, something is amiss. She looks like she skipped a few meals.

    1999 Girl, Interrupted: That’s it! She’s a nutter! I’m not sure she’s acting here.

    2001 Don’t Say A Word: Yep, she’s crazier than a shithouse rat, but she’s looking good in a kill you in your sleep kind of way.

    2002 8 Mile: What is she thinking? This movie should have been called 8 minutes, which is the length of time she was on screen and coincidently held my attention.

    2003 Uptown Girls: Oh my god, it’s skeletor! She looks like something Mary Kate Olsen would toss up.

    2005 Sin City: Crazy, but at least she’s gained some weight back. When you could see her ribs, backbone and clavicles, she reminded me of a coatrack. Coatracks are great places to store coats and hats, but very difficult to watch on screen.

  3. I thought Rourke was amazing, willis did his willis thing, and I was also surprised madsen had little to do with his role. I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY BY FRODO, and will never forget his totally creepy translation from graphic novel to silver screen. Boy.

    That movie was GREAT, no shit. One of the best films I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something.

  4. hey no one’s mentioned Benicio! I thought his performance of a crazy dead cop with the scratchy-high pitch-low pitch voice was pretty freaky…

  5. True, but I think people expect greatness from Del Toro… To bring out the kind of performance Rourke laid down was pretty awe inspiring.

    Get back to work!

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