Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 109: Sin City

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #95
Year: 2005
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (as guest director)
Starring: Bruce Willis and Benicio Del Toro

Netflix is being slow, so I'm holding off on writing about the Kill Bill movies until tomorrow and Thursday. I still wanted to keep with my Tarantino-movies-that-aren't-Reservoir-Dogs-or-Pulp-Fiction theme, though, so here's a movie that QT was tangentially linked to as a "guest director," whatever that is. The 2005 screen adaptation of Frank Miller's Dark Horse Comics noir Sin City may prove to be the most influential comic book movie of all time when history is written. The entire concept of the dark, gritty comic book film starts here, and it remains probably the darkest and grittiest of them all. But was it any good? Well, that's a little bit less certain.

If Sin City has one thing going for it, it looks more like its source material than any other comic book movie. The dark, shadowy, mostly black-and-white rendering done in post-production gives it a unique visual identity that's truly unlike anything we've seen before or since. It's not arbitrary, either; it's the camera-produced version of Frank Miller's art from the comics. If there's anything that will keep people talking about Sin City for decades to come, it's the visuals – and rightly so. But the movie itself I'm not too fond of. I may or may not have alluded to it in the blog, but I'm a big comic book fan, and I've always considered Frank Miller to be the most overrated figure in comics history. I respect and appreciate what he did for Batman and Wolverine, but his creator-owned franchises are uniformly boring, shocking-for-shock's-sake, and horribly overrated by people both within the comic community and without. Sin City is his worst crime: a gritty, modern pastiche of 1940s noir, complete with done-to-death plots and needless, stylized violence. The movie does an incredibly accurate job of bringing that to life – Miller himself is one of the directors – but it's that very fact that makes me dislike it.

But I get Sin City. It's influenced stuff that I like; I just really don't like it. Seeing it all the way at #95 makes me wonder exactly what the IMDb users were smoking when they saw it, but I realize that I'm the minority when I say I don't like it, especially considering how perfectly I fall into its target audience. I'm a male, aged 18-24 who reads comic books, for chrissakes. So while I don't expect Frank Miller to drastically change his style to impress jaded assholes like me, I do have every right to criticize what I don't like in his work. For my part, though, I doubt if I ever watch Sin City again.

The Good: The visuals.

The Bad: How fucking hard it tries to be badass.

The Skinny: I'd rather not see it on the list at all, and #95 is laughable.


  1. I definetly agree with you here. It is real cool visually, but didn't like it much beyond that. Not really worthy of the list.

  2. I have to strongly disagree. This is my 2nd favorite film of all time, I think it's an absolutley flawless masterpiece. This one of the handful of movies ever made that I can all perfect. Maybe it's because I read the graphic novels prior to seeing it, but I am in love with this film.

  3. Yeah man, I read the comics too, I just don't like them. Or the movie. One bit, haha.

    In fairness, Zack Snyder's Watchmen tried to do the same thing as this and was even fucking worse.

  4. I liked Watchmen too,lol. Not nearly as much as this, but I did still like it. I actually have never read Watchmen, I've been meaning to for a while.

  5. Eh I'm pretty indifferent to this.
    I don't love it, I don't hate it.
    It's gorgeous to watch but I don't own it on dvd or anything.
    I liked Brittany Murphy's plot probably more than anyone else's.
    I don't know it's hard for me to form a hardcore opinion because it really didn't affect me in a positive or negative way. It just kinda is there...

  6. @ Chris - Read Watchmen. Do it. Best comic ever. Not overrated in the least.

    @ Andrew - Yeah, that's mostly how I feel. I tried not to be too vitriolic in my words about Sin City because it honestly just made no impact on me as a viewer.