Thursday, August 18, 2005

SIN CITY: Castrations Never Looked So Dreamy

God damn it to Hell... SIN CITY is a movie that I absolutely love. SIN CITY is a movie I absolutely hate. What's a reviewer to do?

Let's start with the good stuff --

This incredible digital feature is unlike anything you have seen before. I can not emphasize enough the stunning beauty of what is stylistically one of the most incredible black&white features since Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS (1927). Robert Rodriguez captures perfectly the "look" of Frank Miller's graphic novels (think "comic books" on steroids) that this film is based upon and from a visual and technical point of view, SIN CITY may prove to be a landmark production in cinema history. Time will tell...

On the other hand, the underlying story (actually what we have are four different stories ineffectively merged into a fairly non-cohesive whole) is, in a word, a mess. I cannot deny that the titillating depravity, the lurid edginess and the savage sadism which literally explodes off the screen is presented in rapid fire and truly visceral fashion. Clearly SIN CITY is a place to avoid visiting. But with all of the non-stop action and mayhem (the bad guy getting sliced into a "Pez dispenser" notwithstanding), SIN CITY is all style over substance. The narrative peters out quickly, failing to muster even a modicum of continuing suspense or interest. Clocking in at two hours and four minutes, it is the running time that is the biggest "sin" in this city.

Observation Number 1 -- The character "Yelow Bastard", played by Nick Stahl, sure reminds me of the goofy guy doing the Fiesta Texas ads. Makes me think twice about going there...

Observation Number 2 -- Mickey Rourke is truly phenominal as "Marv", the damn-near-impossible-to-kill street fighter with a penchant for band aids. For my money, the entire film could have relegated itself to his "story" and thus come in at a respectable one hour and forty minutes. This is a classic example of what often happens when the same person serves in the capacity of both the Director and the Editor. Scissors, anyone???