[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004UGANG6][/pullquote] Frank Miller’s graphic novel receives perhaps the most faithful transfer to the silver screen of all of the comic book genre in this brutal and brilliant film by Robert Rodriguez. The two hour running time covers three separate tales set in Basin City, an American noir hell where lawlessness and brutality are part of the fabric of every day life. With a heavy hitting cast which oozes quality from top to bottom, each story is in its own right is a triumph.
The stories revolve predominantly around Mickey Rourke’s ex-con seeking to avenge the murder of a hooker, Clive Owen helping the women of ‘Old Town’ remain free of pimps and the mob and Bruce Willis protecting a stripper from an evil psychopath. Whilst the three main protagonists are men, the women of Sin City play as important a role and every major character is played by one of Hollywood’s A-List. While this does not necessarily translate to a good film by default, here everyone is perfectly cast and each puts in a great turn.
With such a rich conversion from graphic novel to big screen, which could have forfeited substance for style, is not allowed to because of the strength of the stories. With 90% of each frame in black and white, only the important areas are colourised, which allows for an extra layer of silent narrative to be told. What it also allows is for some truly horrific scenes to be played out with white/yellow/red blood and gore as appropriate. While this allows for the horror to unfold explicitly without always being stomach-churning due to the colouring, it is hard to think of another mainstream film that plunges the depraved depths of Sin City and lays it out so starkly. In context however, and not everyone will agree, shot as it is, it does not feel like too much.
Feeling similar in narrative style to Pulp Fiction, there is less overlap between the stories and characters in Sin City but the overall atmosphere of the city is painted perfectly throughout. Whilst Rodriguez is credited as director, Frank Miller gets a directing credit and Quentin Tarantino a special guest director credit but the stories knit together seamlessly and never feel disjointed. Unlike Pulp Fiction, each new story is not prefaced by a subtitle, they just roll from one to the next with a fade.
With a cast that would make most studios weak at the knees and a conversion so perfect that Stan Lee must cry into his cornflakes every morning, Sin City is in the upper echelons of not only the comic book genre but films as a whole.