I think there’s been a fair amount of buzz around the just released film “Sin City” based off the graphic novels by Frank Miller. I’m no comics afficionado (unlike The League) but I know good drawings when i see them.
Ripped from the pages of gritty, hard-boiled, noir cop and corruption graphic novels, the scenes from the film present the readers clips or perfect stills with which our minds race to fill in the blanks in time and story. The magic of the comic form is that it shows the verbs at their most explosive intensity and the reader weaves the transitions on his own.
Realizing this is to the credit of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. It is notable that the Director’s guild forced Rodriguez to give up his membership in order to co-direct with Miller. Hey DGA, you all progress when good art is made and you’re fighting a turf battle over how the credits roll? Maybe a little less ego and a little more attention to craft would help spare us monstrosities like the upcoming “Adam Sandler goes to prison and teaches inmates to play football” (no, really, it’s really going to happen) disaster in the pipe, or anything that Michael Bay produced.
Back to “Sin City” though.
The story is rough, the blood flows in spurting white (it’s a B&W film with artistic splashes of color) and both the good and bad guys share a predatorial post-morality. The dames are scantily clad ladies of easy virtue or curvy Tex Avery ahh-woo-gaah Mickey Spillane cover art filling out nightgowns like pendulums of sequins, satin, skin, and sin. The men are hard-boiled, grizzled hulks of muscle, menace, meat, and melancholy. Against the dark nihilist night they each ply their destiny bullet by bullet, trick by trick, and blow by blow.
The film thrills in letting the audience take this visual trip to the realm of pulp and noir and never flinches from its seedy underbelly. There are no happy endings in Sin City - only momentary reprieves that are book-ended by the omniscient soliloquy of a hit-man.