Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (3D / SLIGHT SPOILERS. ish.)
Cert: 18 / 102 mins / Dir. Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller
The opening roll-call of Miller and Rodriguez's seamless follow-up to 2005's Sin City warns once again that this will be a film with too many characters. Episodic in nature as its predecessor, the stories A Dame To Kill For are set after the Hartigan thread from last time, but before the Marv one. Although both characters still feature in this film, and the comic-book roots of the stories mean they exist in their own heavily-inked isolation, anyway.
We're back once more in Basin City for another trio of tales of nocturnal sleaze, debauchery and vengeance. Mickey Rourke returns as the bullet-headed trouble-magnet Marv, this time siding with Josh Brolin's not-so-private eye Dwight in a story which pits them against Eva Green's calculatingly unhinged Ava. Elsewhere we get Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the brash gambler Johnny out to teach Senator Roark a lesson he won't forget, and the return of Jessica Alba's Nancy, with her own score to settle from the first film. As mentioned above, Bruce Willis reprises his role, as do Rosario Dawson, Power Boothe, and Jaime King.
It's all shot in uber-noir, and the presence of JGL reminded me how much I'd love to see a live-action Batman feature executed in this style. First-person voiceovers feature heavily again, as does the convoluted web that exists between the characters. But the moments of monochromatic bloodshed which drag the smoky 1930's screaming into the present-day seem to be spaced too far apart, even if when they do arrive, they do so with a glee which outshines Sin City's. In terms of general tone, Rodriguez seemed to be having far more fun in Machete Kills. And just because you can count the number of smiles in A Dame To Kill For on one hand, don't be fooled into thinking it has any deep message to impart. If anything, the film's treatment of its female characters leaves me feeling somewhat uncomfortable, but that's an area best covered by writers more qualified to wade into such waters.
You'd imagine the 3D would be a great addition to a film which is borderline animated, but if anything it just makes the juxtaposition between the photography and rendered backdrops more jarring. It's clear from the off that more money's been spent on the visuals this time around, but it doesn't make for a smoother ride. Not withstanding the fact that the screening I saw had 3D ghosting all over the shop, the lesson I gleaned from Sin City is that film noir needs restraint, not excess.
All in all, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For has been made with care and attention, but I'm not entirely sure there was any need for it to exist. It expands on the continuity of the first film with flair and conviction, but it never really adds anything to it. If that's good enough for you, then fair play; it's certainly more entertaining than a lot of films I've seen this year.
Fans of the first film will welcome it to their shadow-loving hearts and bookshelves, but it's not doing anything Sin City didn't.
And crucially, it's not doing anything better.
I'd say so.
Y'know what, I don't think I actually did.
Probably, although that's not really for me.
If you're going to see a film this dark, a massive dark room is the perfect place for it.
I didn't hear one. And this is Robert Rodriguez, here. Sort it out, man.
What the hell is Eva Green doing with her accent? British? American? Australian?
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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