Basin City is a dark, violent place, full of hookers, perverse murderers, corrupt cops, politicians and clergymen. One story follows Hartigan (Bruce Willis) – the one decent man in Sin City – as he rescues an 11-year-old girl and goes to jail for eight years before he meets Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) again – and again he has to save her from the same perverse killer.
Another episode is the story of Marv (Mickey Rourke), a big and ugly, tough-as-nails street warrior who seeks revenge for the murder of his one love, Goldie. Marv must face not only the cannibalistic Kevin (Elijah Wood) but also the police and diabolic Cardinal Roark (Rutger Hauer).
The third episode sees Dwight (Clive Owen) desperatly trying to avoid a brutal street war between the amazonian prostitutes of ‘Old Town’, the police and the mafia after the murder of a violent policeman.
Shot in black & white with just the occasional touch of color, SIN CITY is the film to Frank Miller’s graphic novel, and it has a truly unique and impressive visual style matching the comics. The movie is also exceptionally violent and gory – definitly not for the queasy, and not what you would expect from a mere thriller – rather from a zombie-schlocker. The cast is superb and the acting fine, but the über-violence, extreme stylishness and comic-book reality (don’t be sure anybody is dead until his head is chopped off – and even then, don’t be too sure) is not for everybody.
Fans of the SIN CITY-comic will probably be as excited to see the graphic novel come to life on the big screen in a worthy adaptation as Tolkien-fans were excited to see The Lord Of The Rings in cinemas. But despite great photography and acting, the movie has serious flaws – too many characters and stories cramped into two hours don’t leave time for much character- or plot-development, the over-styliziation leaves no room for real suspense. Probably it would have been better to drop one of the three episodes and fully develop the potential of the other two – and if it worked out well, they could have done a ‘Kill Bill’ and made a second movie with the chipped storylines.
Don’t visit with your feminist girlfriend – she won’t like the depiction of women in this movie as strippers, prostitutes and victims only.
Obviously this film is a case of style over substance, and probably one of the most over-rated movies of the recent years.