This one I recommend.

Fascinating; visually captivating and cool.

Here is a movie that is undeniably unique. It is a visually intriguing comic book film that resembles an actual comic book moreso than any other film of the genre and it seems to depend on the viewer whether or not it is a remarkably great-looking and fun action picture.

Jessica Alba as Nancy (left) held captive by Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl).

Sin City is a film adabtation of Frank Miller‘s famous comic, that looks almost exactly like the source material, possibly because Miller himself directed it, with some help from Robert Rodriguez and to some extent Quentin Tarantino. It tells four different gritty stories set in the sinister and miserable Basin City where psycho killers are common and evil is everywhere.

A confusing intro shows us the story The Customer Is Always Right, where a man called The Salesman (Josh Hartnett) approaches a woman on a balcony, The Costumer (Marley Shelton). He shoots her dead after implying that she is on the run from someone or something. The next story is That Yellow Bastard, which involves an aging and ill cop named Hartigan (Bruce Willis), attempting to rescue a little girl named Nancy from the clutches of rapist Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) of the Roark family, despite warnings from his partner Bob (Michael Madsen). Hartigan does manage to rescue Nancy, although he is shot down by Bob after defying him.

Haritgan’s story is not yet over, but before it continues we see The Hard Goodbye where the seemingly indestructable Marv (Mickey Rourke in heavy make-up) wakes up after a one-night-stand with prostitute Goldie (Jaime King), finding that she has been murdered, by a slick but deadly mute, Kevin (Elijah Wood), who answers to Cardinal Patrick Henry Rourke (Rutger Hauer) of the Roark family. Marv doesn’t know that, so despite warnings from his parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino) he sets out to find the murderer, killing his way to the answer, becuase he fell for Goldie that night. On his quest he encounters a band of prostitutes in Old Town, one of whom looks exactly like Goldie. ‘Tis her twin sister Wendy, also played by Jaime King.

Left to right: Benicio del Toro as Jackie, Clive Owen as Dwight, Rosario Dwason as Gail and Devon Aoki as Miho.

The fourth story is The Big Fat Kill, involving Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen) protecting his girlfriend Shellie (Brittany Murphy) from her ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benicio del Toro), whom Dwight pursues to Old Town where Jackie Boy and his gang, after attempting to harass a hooker named Becky (Alexis Bledel), are killed off by a quick and violent martial arts expert, Miho (Devon Aoki). Turns out Jackie Boy was in fact a highly respected cop and the truce between the cops and the band of prostitutes – leader Gail is played by Rosario Dawson – if they learn of Jackie’s death. It gets worse when an army of mercenaries, commanded by the dangerous Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan) steal Jackie Boy’s severed head, which Dwight and Miho vow to retrieve. Strange story.

The last story is part II of That Yellow Bastard, where Hartigan reuintes years later with adult Nancy (Jessica Alba), after getting out of prison, where he ended up soon after being told by Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) that he will be framed for Roark Junior’s crimes. Junior isn’t gone though. He returns as The Yellow Bastard and kidnaps Nancy once more, causing Hartigan to chase after him immediately.

All these storylines are set in that same dark, sinister city and occasionally the stories are tied together in a clever Tarantino sort of way. Characters interact and observe each other’s storylines and such. It is put together nicely.

Sin City is the kind of film where the overuse of CGI is actually required, in order to give the film that unique and fascinating stylized look. It looks beautiful, although there are admittedly parts that may be a little overly stylized. It shouldn’t always have to look exactly like the graphic novel, so the parts where the characters are shown as white silhouettes might be distracting to certain viewers. Not all, but most likely some.

Kevin (Wood), one of the few foes of Marv (Rourke) to put up a fight.

But over-all, Sin City is a cool and entertaining film, if extremely gritty, with a wonderful and well-selected all-star cast to go with it; Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Carla Gugino, Benicio del Toro, Jessica Alba, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rutger Hauer and even Frank Miller himself as a corrupt priest. There’s no Danny Trejo, despite this being a Robert Rodriguez-film, but hey – you can’t have everyone. Most enjoyable is probably Elijah Wood as Kevin. We all know Wood for his sweet, innovcent-looking face, don’t we? He has the same old face in this film, but that is part of what makes Kevin so disturbing and frightening.

The rest of the characters are also good, some more than others, even if those playet by Willis, Rourke and Owen narrated a little bit too often. Though Frank Miller really wanted his film to be faithful to the graphic novel, so it is understandable that much of the dialogue remains in the film. Really, the only thing he probably removed are the dialogue baloons, perhaps after being convinced?

In any case Sin City is a well-made and truly unique movie with interesting visuals, cool characters, an equally cool soundtrack and good performances all around. It has been said that a sequel is in the making. When do we get so that, do you suppose? Will Danny Trejo be in it? Time shall tell.

“Walk down the right back alley in Sin City, and you can find anything.” – Marv.

4.5/5 whatever.

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