4 May 2005

Review: Sin City (4/5)

sin city

This did not live up to the geek hype that basically declared this movie as "the next Pulp Fiction" (Kevin Smith), but it was still strong, entertaining, and creative.

Director Rodriguez succeeded by not making a movie that embraces special effects at the cost of character. Most credit however goes to Frank Miller's original story. Why did I connect with the flat, noir characters of Sin City more than the flat, pulp sci fi characters of Sky Captain [IMDB], a movie that is an exact parallel in terms of technical construction? I think that Sky Captain played more to a 1930s Flash Gordon audience that to a 21st century audience. The story was a well-constructed and attractive period piece. Sin City in its best moments provided the viewer with moral ambiguity and humor, mixed with a dose of post-Pulp Fiction violence.

One problem I had with the movie was when its caricatured noir went too far over the top. There's a balance that has to be struck when characters are pontificating on This Grim World in an internal monologue of hard-boiled-speak. Throughout the movie, there were a few too many times when I was laughing at the characters (and the writer) when too many similes were helplessly strung together in a scene. Another problem was with the sometimes extreme graphic fidelity to the original graphic novel. Figures can be twisted uncomfortably in abstracted pen-and-ink drawings in order to express an anxiousness or internal conflict. When these poses are transferred to actors, the unphysicality becomes apparent and more freakish than expressive.

I was most surprised at how much more humorous the violence was in the movie than in other graphic novels of Frank Miller. This may be related to the differences of moving from art to actor, but it was an enjoyable alteration.

[ posted by sstrader on 4 May 2005 at 10:40:15 AM in Cinema ]