Thursday, July 14, 2005
Frank Miller's SIN CITY
A Poetry-In-Motion Crime Fiction
A Menacing Classic!
By Reymundo Salao
Just Another Film Junkie
Cops that are crooked and corrupt, street thugs that have hate and vengeance in their hearts, hookers that carry high-powered guns, politicians that torture the innocent, victims that stab their rescuers in the back, there's even a priest who cultivates violence. These are the kinds of people that belong to Sin City. SIN CITY is a collection of interweaving stories all based in the corrupt, crime-infested hellhole that is Basin City. Heavily influenced by film-noir, the main storylines concern a hulking brute called Marv (Mickey Rourke), who is seeking the murderer of a beautiful woman who was killed while asleep in bed with him; Dwight (Clive Owen) is a detective caught between a murdered cop Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) and a slew of lethally dangerous vixens whose safeguarding their truce with the police force; and a soon-to-be-retiring policeman called Hartigan (Bruce Willis) who is incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit. Think of it as a darker, more action-based Pulp Fiction, that's why Tarantino is also "guest-directing" the film adaptation of it, along with its main director, his buddy, Robert Rodriguez (director of From Dusk Till Dawn, and the El Mariachi Trilogy: El Mariachi, Desperado, & Once Upon A Time In Mexico), and also directing is the writer himself, Frank Miller, which seals the assurance that the film will come as close to the comics series.
Frank Miller is probably the most respected comic book, graphic novel artist-writer, alongside Stan Lee. Miller has set the milestone for comicbook standards giving them a more adult, more mature appeal. This began when he came out in the 1980's with the Batman saga "Dark Knight Returns" (probably the best book in the DC Comics' history) which tells a Batman storyline told with an adult setting of gritty, bloody crime-infested Gotham and serious themes of vengeance, murder, and even insanity. He then made history when he took the helm of writing the self-titled "Wolverine" (probably the best book in the Marvel Comics' history) graphic novel, which has given depth to the character of X-men hero Wolverine, giving him a violent, but tragic history. He later created the character ELEKTRA from the pages of the DAREDEVIL series & also created a sci-fi samurai series RONIN. But it was his "Sin City" graphic novel that has established great success, making it THE ultimate adult crime noir comic series.
The adaptation is as literal as it can be; as the film is shot with the aid of CGI, to make the entire movie look exactly like how the scenes in the comicbook look; majority of it in black and white, with scenes where some colors are vividly exaggerated to enhance the artistic magnificence of the movie. It reminds you of classic film noir, even better. The action is gritty, relentless, mean, bloody and violently cool. It's NOT for the weak of heart. I bloody fu#%ing love it. With its vivid imagery also is the excellent dark panache of the script. Every dialogue is like a mean-streets-poetry. Just like the grotesque character Marv, played by Mickey Rourke, his role may that be of an outcasted, musclebound streetfreak, but his words, thoughts, and emotions on this film are filled with slang eloquence. Just listening to his narrations during the duration of the film is a satisfying film experience enough. It reminds us that Frank Miller is truly the Shakespeare of crime fiction.
Its ensemble cast include; Bruce Willis as the valiant old-guy cop Hartigan, Rosario Dawson is the fierce gang leader Gail , Elijah Wood is the mysterious Kevin (a role which will indeed make you forget about Frodo), Benicio Del Toro as the annoying and abusive Jackie Boy, Brittany Murphy as his girlfriend Shellie, Michael Clarke Duncan is the unsettling Manute, Josh Hartnett as the charming but deadly "the man", Jamie King is the angelic Goldie, Clive Owen is the heroic Dwight, Mickey Rourke is the grotesque Marv, Nick Stahl is the Yellow Bastard Roark, Jr., Michael Madsen as the treacherous Bob, Rutger Hauer as the Cardinal Roark, Devon Aoki as the katana and shuriken-armed Miho, and of course, the mega-sexy Jessica Alba as the alluring stripper Nancy Callahan. Also watch out for the man Frank Miller himself as the Priest. The cast and crew were burning hot with a superbly job well done.
I was grinning ear-to-ear as I watched this film. If you're tired with art films being such a boring snoozefest, this is one art film that will blow your teacher's mind. And your teacher says this film is garbage, I'm sure he/she has NO idea what art really is (zero.zilch.nada). I'm instantly christening this film as one of my personal "Best Films of 2005" along with "Batman Begins". SIN CITY is the kind of film nobody has ever experienced before. You simply should watch it to know what I'm talking about.