A series of interlocking stories take place in the city of sin.
I just don’t get Sin City.
Alright, in the most obvious sense I understand what Robert Rodriguez and co-director Frank Miller are going for. They want to take the contrasty, monochromatic art of Miller’s graphic novels and throw it up there on the screen, exactly as it was on the page.
But for some reason they want to do this with live action actors, rather than an actual animated recreation, which would be much simpler and more accurate. And this is to ignore the fact that Miller’s art is inspired by movies in the first place – by the light and shadow and endless voice over of film noir.
It’s an altogether too convoluted series of inter-relations for my tiny brain so I’m going to keep my thoughts on the films as simple as possible – I just find them boring.
The hopped up performances are tiresome, the dialogue and voiceover poorly written and narratives themselves deeply familiar. But perhaps by biggest stumbling block is the presentation, which is essentially the only reason these films exist.
Shooting on green screens may allow for a huge amount of freedom in creating the backgrounds but the virtual sphere, at least done this way, also robs the film of any real weight. People intone their lines with little sense of personality or character then its quickly onto the next shot.
And don’t get me started on the action. With a swooping camera than can go anywhere and characters that are seemingly invulnerable, there’s no sense of consequence to the constant stream of violence. Rodriguez had more fun with it in the first Sin City but there’s just no weight to what’s going on, with sprays of white fluid that’s forgotten in the next bloodbath.
Like many of the director’s recent films (including Machete and Planet Terror) this is a film which is constrained by what it’s trying to be. So while it may conjure up a handful of powerful images during the 102 minute running time its otherwise unable to do anything which might break the code of the graphic novel/film noir/voice over notes it needs to hit.
There are four stories this time around – though it happily runs 20 minutes shorter than the first film. The main jaunt sees Josh Brolin trying to help the seductive Eva Green and it’s one of the better tales. My favourite was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s effort, mainly because the dude is just super cool.
Other plus points – it’s nice to Jessica Alba again, Powers Boothe makes a decent villain and I found a few laugh out loud moments. Though I don’t know for sure that they were intentional. Oh and fans of Eva Green’s assets will find plenty to like, even if you often suspect everything has been CG’d into something that more resembles a cartoon.
Perhaps it’s my failing but I still just don’t get what I’m supposed to like about these films but I imagine even fans will be disappointed by this limp offering a full 9 years after the original, especially the dull thud of an almost non-existent ending.