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126 minutes | Rated: R
WIDE: Friday, April 1, 2005
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino
Starring Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Josh Hartnett, Nick Stahl, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, Jaime King, Marley Shelton, Alexis Bledel, Maria Bello, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rick Gomez, Michael Madsen, Devon Aoki, Rutger Hauer
SMALL SCREEN SHRINKAGE: 15%|
WIDESCREEN: A MUST
This flick will leap off of any screen, but it's such a spectacularly visual work of art, it deserves to be seen in as close to a theatrical experience as possible.
Nobody does DVD goodies better than Robert Rodriguez!
For stories on their own (yellow, customer, hard, big fat kill), 15m flick school (lost of how we did it), all green screen version (the whole movie in 10m with no post-production FX), Rodrieguez's 10m cooking school, 3 commentaries + audio track with audience from Austin premiere, copy of Frank Miller's Sin City: The Hard Goodbye, and more than a dozen superb making-of features about how Rodriguez was looking for a challenge, had to convince Miller, etc. Even one 14m take of raw footage in which an entire scene was shot.
Rodriguez repeats himself quite a lot between the two commentary tracks, and the one with Frank Miller is the gem. The one with Tarantino and Willis doesn't have the enthusiams.
props, cars, makeup, lighting, costumes, etc. interactive guide to characters, locations and how they all cross
Pristine audio & video
The August 2005 release of 'Sin City' should be called the Special Sucker's Edition. Director Robert Rodriguez always puts out jam-packed DVDs of his movies, but this one has only a nine-minute making-of featurette (which is pretty good). So unless you're dying to own it, you should wait, because there's sure to be a deluxe 2-disc set less than a year away.|
SOUND & PICTURE
1.85:1, 5.1 Dolby
A few audio hickups
SUBS: English, French
DVD RATING: **
OTHER REVIEWS/COMING SOON
Violent, visually stunning 'Sin City' a revolution in comic book movies
Innovative and dazzling in its absolute loyalty to the visual style of its inspiration, "Sin City" brings comic book pages alive to a degree that is unprecedented in movie history.
A triptych of dark, violent tales set in a fallen metropolis of corruption and grime, the film is a collaboration between director Robert Rodriguez (of "Desperado" and "Spy Kids" fame) and graphic novelist Frank Miller (responsible for the gritty reinventions of Batman and Daredevil), whose unique touch in the unusual role of co-director is unmistakable.
Pages from the "Sin City" books were clearly used as storyboards for the stunning, stark black-and-white cinematography, which features exclamation points of illustrative color: the golden tresses of a beautiful femme fatale, white-on-black silhouettes, red splashes of blood from brutal murders that occur just out of frame.
His influence can also be felt (along with that of Rodriguez pal Quentin Tarantino, who is curiously credited as a "special guest director") in the "Pulp Fiction"-like plot structure that lends itself well to the interconnected short stories, all of which make up in atmosphere what they sometimes lack in profundity.
One follows an aging police detective (Bruce Willis, sporting a wicked X-shaped scar on his forehead) -- who is hardened but honest to a fault (one of the few in this sleazy town) -- as he desperately tries to rescue an 11-year-old girl from a serial-killer child rapist with powerful political connections that have helped keep his crimes quiet.
The second concerns a muscle-bound brute (Mickey Rourke) with a face like a cinderblock, whose tender spot for a slain hooker leads him to cut a path of violence and murder through the city's underworld -- and into its political elite.
In the third, a killer fresh from a prison break and face-altering plastic surgery (he now has the handsome mug of Clive Owen) doesn't quite manage to skip town before he finds himself embroiled in a turf war between crooked cops, a powerful street gang and a battalion of gun-toting prostitutes who run the red-light district themselves -- and repel with ruthless force any pimps who think otherwise.
Thick with character-enriching internal dialogue ("I love hit men," growls Rourke in voice-over while roughing up a pair of thugs. "No matter what you do to 'em, you don't feel bad.") and deep-shadow ambiance, "Sin City" couldn't be a more vivid cinematic realization of Miller's vision or a better example of Rodriguez's explosive imagination as a director. (Like last year's "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," the actors were shot on green-screen soundstages and the world around them was filled in later with seamless computer graphics.)
But this groundbreaking movie is not without its weaknesses.
While digging luridly and graphically into the ugly underbelly of this fictional urbania, "Sin City" only skims the surfaces of its protagonists' souls. Willis and especially the heavily made-up Rourke give their ruffians some leathery layers, but the script offers no sense that they even exist beyond these turbulent episodes. (Clive Owen's role has less dimension, and his narration seems almost soft-spoken after the gruffness of his predecessors.)
While memorably hardy and resilient, the film's dead-sexy tough-cookie female characters are nonetheless largely underdeveloped sex objects, despite sharp comic-book noir performances by Jamie King and Rosario Dawson (dangerous prostitutes), Brittany Murphy (trampy barmaid), Jessica Alba (vulnerable stripper), and the talented Carla Gugino (curvy lesbian parole officer).
"Sin City's" most awkward problem is its unexpected return to the Willis story just when it seems as if the film is wrapping up. Even through the narrative recovers its rhythm, this lengthy epilogue contains dubious plot points and scenes that seem to rehash moments from earlier in the picture.
But none of these shortcomings subtracts from the virtuoso embodiment of Miller's inimitable style as an artist and storyteller, or from Rodriguez's intrepid gift for combining revolutionary filmmaking with crowd-pleasing commercial accessibility. "Sin City" may be too imperfect to be called a masterpiece, but it's certainly an unforgettable work of art and entertainment.