Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Sin City

World of Blackout Film Review

Sin City Poster

Sin City
Cert: 18 / 119 mins / Dir. Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller & Quentin Tarantino
WoB Rating: 5/7

The first of a double-bill to usher in the sequel, this was only the second time I've seen Robert Rodriguez's 2005 film, but the first I've seen it on the big screen. Curiously, while I enjoyed it more than I evidently did in 2011, I still wholly agree with everything I thought then*1.

Visually, the film is absolutely gorgeous, and having not read co-director Frank Miller's books, I can only imagine they're a fairly accurate moving adaptation of his work. The script is frequently beautiful, evoking the spirit of smoke, long-held grudges and nights as dark as blood soaking through a black dress*2. It's just a shame that not all of the film's cast can do that script justice. It's mostly great, but there's real poetry in those lines, and it doesn't always translate as well as you know it should. Likewise, the imagery which carries so much movement when it's static somehow loses its edge when pushed through live-action and almost into animation. Sin City is often far too busy for its own good, and what should be a character piece becomes a kaleidoscope of grimaces and blurred roadside barriers.

Film noir requires a sense of claustrophobia which I'm not sure Rodriguez knows how to bring to life, even with Miller alongside him. Gloriously dark both visually and thematically, the film is unashamedly style over substance. This isn't always a bad thing of course, but Sin City does have the substance which seems overlooked in the rush to cram as many wisecracking characters as possible onto the screen.

There's a definite nod towards the Pulp Fiction style of narrative intertwining, but whereas Tarantino's masterpiece had an almost warm familiarity at its core (even the first time you watched it), Sin City's uneven episodic nature and unevenly likeable characters do more harm than good. Maybe it's the lack of knowledge of the source material, but the film didn't flow quite as smoothly for me as I felt it should.

Visually arresting, Sin City covers enough stylistic bases to have carved itself an almost timeless niche, and will no doubt be entertaining audiences for years to come. That said, the crowd it attracts in the future will probably be as selective as the one it has now.

The film would be a damned sight more enjoyable if it'd just slow down and smell the blood, once in a while...

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Kinda. Mostly.
Although not as much as the woman two rows behind me, admiteddly

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I think it does, it's just that that thing isn't really for me.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Well, your choices are more limited now, but I'd say that if this is your thing then you probably already own it.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I won't.

Will I watch it again?
After having watched it again, I probably will, yes. I think that's irony?.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There is, but it appears to be pitched upwards a little.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Marv has the number 87341 on his prison overalls in Sin City. Any idea why this is?
Google doesn't seem to know, and I don't believe something this visual would have no meaning at all.

*1 Well, no-one else is going to fucking well agree with me, are they? (I jest (I don't)) :p
*2 A line from a book by Graham Masterton that hasn't left my brain since the day I read it, even if the rest of the novel mostly has.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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