Surprisingly enough, I got selected for a special advanced screening of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. However, my memory of the first one was not that great especially since I didn’t remember much, so I decided to revisit it the night before I went. The experience of being the first group to see the movie is definitely great and since I’ve been doing this little blog and diving into the world of movies, I’ve learned that I’ve changed a little in how I appreciate movies and that is the main reason why I wanted to revisit this.
Since I’ve been massively behind with everything, I decided to just go ahead and do a double review of these two movies. It baffles me that after almost 10 years we get a sequel for Sin City but still, lets see how it all went.
SIN CITY (2005)
Director: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez (special guest director: Quentin Tarantino)
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jaime King
A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.-IMDB
I have no other way has to how to describe this movie but just use the synopsis in IMDB. I’d give it a shot but honestly, I think it all starts with this. The first time I saw Sin City in theatres with some college friends, I thought it was THE most boring thing ever. Why? Because nothing made sense and it was like a jumble of nothing. It was beautiful and black and white gory and brutal. Its not really not my thing and as I rewatched it a few nights ago, I saw it in a different light. There is a brilliance to the jumbled-up story and I stayed awake for it and apparently, I only remembered two parts from the original viewing.
What I absolutely love is the style. The black and white and the interlacing of sharp colors: the red silk (and sometimes, blood), the colors in the eyes, the contrast in hair and that sort of thing. It just makes an impression. Then you have one of the bad guys, Yellow Bastard who is just a disturbing and ugly character that popped out because he was literally yellow.
The second thing that I love about it was the cast. Bruce Willis is just amazing as Jack Hartigan. Clive Owen is awesome as Dwight. And then there’s the passion and chemistry between the characters. The stories gave time for the characters to grow and develop in exactly the space and time it needed. Each of the stories had their impact and honestly, Basin City has some pretty impressive characters. The Old Town girls are brutal, violent and fun to watch.
As I sit here thinking about it more, its really starting to grow. The third thing that works is the stories. Everyone has something that makes it worthwhile to watch. It has exaggeration, sarcasm, darkness, violence, manipulation. This town is full of ugly people in personality. Its corrupt and dark but strange enough, its also covered in beautiful women who are almost as lethal as you can imagine. There are boundaries and all that. Its a pretty amazing set-up for a movie.
Sin City has the formula for a great movie and for the most part, it delivers. The question is whether its your type of movie. I love the comic book visuals, the sharp contrasts, the set up of the town and the stories of our main characters, and especially the fantastic cast. It was well-balanced, brutal and very fun to watch. However, its not exactly my type of movie that I go for everyday so it took time for me to really see it through. The second viewing definitely made me praise it a lot more.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014)
Director: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller
Cast: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Bruce Willis
Some of Sin City’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants.-IMDB
On a lesser run time than the first one and having a few new characters, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For still lacks a little something. I loved the style that was equally has beautiful as the first with the black and white and sudden colors to give it a great experience. The music was awesome and matched the atmosphere. I’m trying to pinpoint in my mind if there were 3 or 4 story arcs right now but they weren’t quite as fun as the first.
The characters were great because the cast is still very decent. Mickey Rourke returned as Marv and is still as violent (and a bit stupid) as before. The new additions of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green and Josh Brolin all bring something new to the table. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets his own story arc as a cocky gambler who never loses. He goes to Kadie’s to challenge Senator Roark except in the corrupted sin city, he gets warned time and time again that its not a wise thing to do. As much I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt in absolutely anything and he is very wonderful as Johnny, I felt his story wasn’t quite where I wanted it to go.
The next story arc was for an older Dwight (previously played by Clive Owen) but is returned this time played by Josh Brolin. Dwight’s story is possibly the most elaborate. He is trapped in a flame that he can’t shake off. He tries to not respond to the attractive Ava, played by Eva Green who is now married to a rich man. She comes back and he falls right back into her arms. This leads to a game of manipulation, a trap, revenge and a lot of naked Eva Green scenes. This one was actually pretty fun to watch. The chemistry, passion, manipulation all works out even if you can predict what will happen 😉
I guess, the fourth story would be Marv retracing how he ended up where he was, except I’m wondering if there was anything for him. Except, Marv, played by Mickey Rourke (like the first one) is the key to drawing everything together because he appears in all the stories in one way or another. If anyone is easily manipulated, it would have to go to him. Plus, he is the action and the brutal violence. There is no doubt that Marv is a great character and Mickey Rourke does a great job, even after 9 years he still has the essence of Marv in him and revives him on the big screen.
I personally like the follow up with Hartigan’s death and the impact it has on Nancy the best. The roles are both still played by the original two, Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba. Although Nancy and her dancing scenes are thrown around the entire movie and it lets the audience see how she’s completely broken by it all. Its a mental struggle for her and she not only wants revenge that she can’t pick up the courage to do so she drowns herself in alcohol. In her struggle, she sees glimpses of Hartigan, as if he’s never left her side. Its really something to watch. There was one shocking part that I never would’ve guessed and its pretty awesome the way they handled it.
Overall, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is not as good as the first one. The stories lack the punch it had in the first one, even though there are two that particularly stand out. However, the style and the music is still amazing. The 3D is done extremely well and adds to the overall effects. The cast does a great job at bringing everything they can to the movie and for the most part, they do a very good job. Even the new additions, Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings a charm to his story (even though it falls flat), Josh Brolin has a compelling character and story and Mickey Rourke is fantastic once again as the ever so violent Marv.
I need to make a point of saying this: If you were a fan of the first one, the chances of you enjoying this one more than me is very high. Keep that in mind when you decide whether you’d like to see this 😉
Are you a fan of Sin City? What makes it so great to you? Have you been anticipating the sequel? Do you think its been long-awaited or unnecessary?