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Movies: Sin City
Friday, 2005 April 22 - 11:42 pm
So, I finally saw this movie. No doubt you've all seen it already, or at least heard about it, but I'm going to offer my thoughts anyway.

First, I should say that Javi has written a much more interesting analysis of this movie than I'll ever achieve, but I still want to write my thoughts about it.

"Sin City" is a movie adaptation of stories from graphic novels by Frank Miller. I think It's important to know this, because it justifies what would otherwise be a lot of gratuitous sex and violence. Believe me, this movie is violent, but you can appreciate the not-quite-real quality of the violence if you remember what inspired the movie to begin with. In other words, the violent scenes will seem more appropriate if you picture them as being drawn within the pages of a comic.

Still, this is not a movie for the kids. Or your mom. Or a girl you might be trying to impress on a date.

Right away, you get hit with its film noir quality, emphasized by the (mostly) black-and-white filming, and a narrative that could be straight out of a Mickey Spillane detective novel. The movie is gritty and dark and hard-boiled, and it wants to you to know that. In the first few minutes of the movie, I found it a little bit distracting, the way it was going to such lengths to establish its atmosphere. It was almost overkill.

But then, you get things like little splashes of color and slightly surrealistic landscapes that tell you that the overkill is intentional. This isn't supposed to be real: it's supposed to be the kind of thing you'd find in a comic, or a piece of pulp fiction. And once you settle into that, the movie becomes much more enjoyable. I sometimes found myself drawing parallels to the mostly-awful but sometimes-clever "Dick Tracy" movie that Warren Beatty did. There's an art to capturing a comic-book atmosphere in a movie, an art that the "Batman" series never seemed to grasp.

There are a series of interconnected stories which all deal with a central theme: the hero archetype. Our heroes are male, ruthless, and cynical yet noble. They defend the weak and innocent against the forces of evil and against impossible odds, sometimes at the expense of their own lives. They endure great misfortune with fatalistic stoicism. They are the embodiment of strength.

It's a decidedly masculine outlook. The women in the movie are usually victims, and often sex objects too. (And boy are they sex objects. Hoo, baby.) Again, the misogyny is intentional; it's all part of the genre. But a lot of women will be understandably turned off by this.

It's hard for me to rate this movie, because the things that make this movie brilliant are the same things that make it unpalatable for a lot of people. It's an unapologetic throwback kind of movie, a movie that doesn't care how many people are offended or disgusted by it. Does that make it great? It will all depend on who you are.

Rating: 4 / 5
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Posted by Ken in: moviesreviews

Comments

Comment #1 from Javi (Guest)
2005 Apr 23 - 2:59 pm : #
thanks for the shout out - i SO love that you bring up dick tracy - i spend nights awake wishing that had been a good movie because i liked the look of it so much.

please tell me that the whole "do not take a date you want to impress" to this movie isn't from the real life files of kato... i made that mistake once with mary shelley's frankenstein. never saw THAT girl again!

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