Sin City

Robert Rodriguez's too-faithful adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book series

Directors: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez; Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood


Review: Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's 1980s comic books goes beyond faithful - it handles its source material with near-religious reverence.

A hardboiled homage to the detective fiction of the 30s and 40s, Sin City is - like Miller's series - set in a stylized black-and-white world, punctuated by the occasional dash of color.

With Miller's help, Rodriguez has, through imaginative use of CGI, created a near-identical facsimile of the Sin City saga.

The Sin City movie recreates three of Miller's 13 intertwining "yarns" - The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard.

But though the onscreen results are visually impressive, the stories themselves hardly seem worth the effort Rodriguez has lavished upon them.

Full of hard-bitten anti-heroes, supernatural super-villains and voluptuous femme fatales, the movie has the familiar feel of a thousand other pulp fictions.

Sin City's problem is that it's such an accurate rendering of the original comic books that it loses sight of what makes a good movie.

A comic book series is designed to be read in increments and, because of this, doesn't have to contain a huge variety of styles or tones to maintain a reader's interest.

Because they're usually consumed in one sitting, though, films have different requirements - a bit of character development, some moral ambiguity, or an occasional shift in tone never go amiss in the movies.

As a result, what seems iconic or mythic in comic books often comes across as stereotypical or simplistic in comic-book adaptations, and Sin City falls into this trap.

Apart from comic-book style, comic-book violence and comic-book sex, the Sin City movie has little to offer. Even the sequence directed by Rodriguez's friend Quentin Tarantino - a "special guest director" - is unremarkable.

Though beautiful to look at, Rodriguez's movie is a strange sort of art-house B-movie. In spite of its innovative technique and its big-name cast, the film remains resolutely - almost defiantly - two-dimensional.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Czech Premiere: Thursday, July 21st, 2005
Czech Title: Sin City - město hříchu ("Sin City - City of Sin")
Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes

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