I don’t know if I’m getting older or what, but movies like Sin City just don’t do it for me anymore. I went into this movie thinking I was going to love it. I mean, it’s based off a comic book, so right there I was pretty excited. (Yes, I am an unrequited comic book lover. Have been since the age of four. Sue me.) The commercials proved that it was a unique film in terms of visuals. And it was. Just one thing bothered me about the movie so much that I can’t bring myself to say, “I liked it.”
The violence. This movie was about as masochistic as they come. Yes, rarely did they show red blood. It was more often than not stylized so that it appeared stark white against the black and white colors of the movie. But, the beatings, the shootings, the ripping off of body parts, the sawing off of appendages, the ramming of blunt objects through heads, it just got to be too much for me.
I don’t want to sound like a pansy here, but the movie could have been awesome without all those things. I keep hearing people say it’s a great throwback to the film noir style of decades past. I have no recollection of people being shot and stabbed in the genitalia of those old films.
The man who wrote the original graphic novels (a term for a fancy comic book) is Frank Miller. He is largely considered a genius in the comic book world. He redefined Batman in the mid-eighties, and the 1989 Batman was based largely off of his vision of the character. And his comics are violent, for the most part. But, the movie took it one step farther.
The acting wasn’t great, although I thought Mickey Rourke did a nice job. I’m glad to see his career may be revived due to this film, like Travolta with Pulp Fiction. The lines were supposed to be fragmented, which works great in the comics, but not so well in movies. It’s hard to get the complexity of the character and the moment across with just three words per sentence for the better part of the entire film. Rourke pulled it off, but I’m afraid that Willis (who I think is a great actor to watch, but not necessarily a great actor; I mean that as a compliment) and Del Toro didn’t. I do have to say that the movie had a stellar cast. I think everyone knew this was going to be a milestone in the film world.
The style of the movie was phenomenal. It was primarily black and white with splashes of color here and there for symbolism or effect. Very dark, very moody. It nailed the heart of the comic in that respect. It had lots of really cool shots and angles, lots of awesome sets, and the costumes (or lack thereof, in many cases) and make-up were top notch.
So, if you can handle gratuitous violence and enjoy hyper-stylized movies, this is for you. If you’re not one for lots of violence, guns, knives, razor wire, bombs, swords, and any other killing device you can imagine, this may not be a first choice for your Friday night.
Ultimately, I respect the work of Frank Miller, and I respect all artists. Considering he was a co-director of this film (which I think was awesome of the other co-director, Robert Rodriguez, to include him), I have to trust that he got it the way he wanted. That’s all I ask of artists. Do it your way, and let the public make its own decisions.