There are many things that can go wrong in a movie filled with special effects. At times, it can be too much. Also, sometimes the graphics are flawless but the acting is horrific.
For example in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow the C.G.I. was surreal. The stellar imagery produced, was non-incongruous and at times a jaw dropper, well for a minute at least. Only a minute, because regardless of how splendid the view was, the plot and acting was rather boring.
Take also for instance the video game inspired movie called “Final Fantasy”. I could not believe the digital ingenuity that was being displayed on screen. It was a digital beauty.
The dialog however made it worse than watching a bad regular old fashion, 2D, cartoon-movie. So, every time I hear of someone exclaiming that a movie has been made with visuals, without a precedent in quality…. I brace myself and hope that they also reserved some time for… you know… the story, acting and all that other good stuff.
Last weekend, I went to go see Sin City and I was braced for a potential breakdown. Thankfully I came out not frowning like in Sky Captain, but cinematically refreshed. Sin City was a visual delight, plus a story and performances that were equally engaging.
A Story Worth Telling
Sin City is a collection of intertwining tales all based in the corrupted, criminally infested city that is Basin City. Greatly inspired by film-noir, the main story lines concern a brute called Marv (Mickey Rourke), who is stalking the murderer of a woman who was killed while asleep in bed with him; an ex-photographer called Dwight (Clive Owen) who accidentally kills a cop and has to create a cover up; and a retiring policeman called Hartigan (Bruce Willis) who is imprisoned for a false crime. All is based on three graphic novels written and illustrated by Frank Miller. Sin City, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard.
A Sight To See
Right from the start the images grabbed a firm hold on my attention. The look was black and white, but never has very little color said so much. The graphics are not overdone or trying to win over my attention. Rather, the use of the computer-aided scenery, is setting a tone and through out the movie the tone was set by carefully maneuvered c.g.i. At times in movies, you find a use of a bag full of colors, they splash the colors around in hopes of putting you at awe. In this movie it is quite different.
They actually use the lack of color to say something. Never have you see the true beauty of red, till you see it in full splendor, brightly shining in the mist of black and gray. At the beginning we have the pleasure to see a woman who is all the color gray but her gown and lips are a luscious red. Silently provocative.
Prodding our mind, to make it think and see in ways not experienced before. We see entire scenes in unconventional ways. Keeping our attention right to the finale. Its amazing how the visuals in this movie capture the feeling and emotion, that Frank Miller in his graphic novels was striving to sink into his reader’s mind. Yes, indeed, this movie is filled with deep meaning but thankfully also with delicious Eye Candy.
The characters were very well played in Sin City. Performances were good all round. Mickey Rourke played Marv to a T. A brute with a face that can match his gruffness. The girls of Old Town are as beautiful as they are deadly. Elijah Wood, was truly chilling as the fighting menace that is “Kevin”.
Bruce Willis puts in a solid performance as Hartigan. Most any thing he does is almost always acceptable to me whether its Pulp Fiction or Armageddon. Jessica Alba was as captivating as any woman ever seen. As for Jaime King well I say: “There is nothing like a woman’s beauty”.. A visual delight. As for our future James Bond (I hope), ol’ Clive Owen, gave the most silently devilish performance of the movie.
This movie called Sin City is filled with more violence than your typical action flic. Not for the folks with weak stomachs. Filled with a virtual display of killing art, it rivals any movie that is firmly made just to give an action filled killing pleasure. For any Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin fan, it will sure get them their dose of viral violence. Also, it is filled with dark comedy to delight any dark mind.
Sin City is intelligent, visually stylish, all sexy and all sick. It’s funny and full of violence. Not a film for the whole family, but a film for those of us who like our movies rated R and all things attached to that rating.