Truncated movie review: Sin City, noir-wannabe
It had been years since I last walked out of a movie.
I knew nothing about the movie Sin City, but went to see it because I saw the preview the other day when we went to see Hitch. The preview was visually striking in black and white, and I’m a fan of black and white cinematography.
Once the credits started rolling I got the sinking feeling this wasn’t a movie for me when two names flashed across the screen: Mickey O’Rourke and Quentin Tarrantino. As my guru would say, The Tarrantino, he’s the emperor of the ugly.
Still, I stayed. The movie’s actually not in black and white. It’s in black, with a large number of cgi-generated shades of gray, and silver and very pale bronze instead of white. White is used for punctuation and effect, for instance, rain is white. Also for punctuation, only the colors yellow and pale green are used, with a smattering of what is supposed to look like Caucasian skin tones on women, along with plenty of blood-red. The film has the feel of a comic strip. After the first half hour the color scheme becomes gimmicky and stale.
I only lasted for the first three stories. The first story involves a hit man killing a beautiful woman on a roof terrace. The second involves a policeman, played by Bruce Willis (with hair and a rug), who’s having a heart attack while saving a child. The third involves Mickey Rourke (Marv) avenging the death of a prostitute. Rourke’s wearing a face prosthesis that looks more interesting than his current face. The cgi people either worked on the Hulk movie or watched it once too many times because the Marv character runs around like a Hulk wannabe. I’ll spare you the details of that story but I walked out of the movie because by then the mind-numbing violence made me nauseous, and neither know nor care about how that story ends.
Definitely should have read the review before going.
The film tries too hard to get a film-noir “feel”, and fails miserably. The best of the noir genre has dialogue that is easy to parody but immensely hard to duplicate, in that the hard-boiled characters don’t say much but what they say is substantial and at times profound. In Sin City, at times the characters don’t seem to be able to shut up but I’ve heard more profound dialogue standing in line at the supermarket. The film’s greatest error is that, unlike the better comics and most noir films (even the bad ones), except for the character played by Bruce Willis, none of the characters I saw manages to convey any humanity at all.
Apparently there’s a Sin City comic book(s) by Frank Miller. Won’t be reading those, either.
If there was ever a movie for a narrow demographic, this would be it — strictly for Tarrantino and Miller devotees. Anyone else will see through this contrived excercise in sadism for what it is: garbage.
This review also posted at Blogger News Network.
Update Mary sums it up perfectly: “So gross I couldn’t finish my popcorn”.