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Mini-review of Sin City

If you loved Sin City, you may not like what I have to say about it.

I am sure that those who have read the comic probably got more out of the movie, but here's how it played for a viewer who lacked that additional context.

Pros:
  • I thought Mickey Rourke did a fine job as Marv.
  • If Elijah Wood wanted to shake off any remaining remnants of Hobbity cuddliness, this was a fine role to do it with. Well, except that while writing that, I had an image of Merry and Pippin's heads on the wall, with Elijah dressed as a Hobbit-sized version of Kevin, and Sam exclaiming: "Mr. Frodo, no!" Simultaneously satirical and disturbing, no?

    Seriously, I didn't see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so have no idea about that character, but Kevin in Sin City is creepy. I found him somewhat insectile.

    Ambivalent bits:
  • Use of color for emphasis and symbolism. Unfortunately, it's not always clear what the director is trying to highlight. Given that the use of vivid color in the film is extremely deliberate and stylized, you may as well make it clear what it is you're trying to say. For example, I know that both of the Man's victims had colored eyes, but I don't know why. Was it fear? Was it the recognition of a soul, a consciousness, that it is approaching its own demise or escape? I don't know. If anyone else can add some definitive insight from the comics or other resources, have at it.

    Cons:
  • Unresolved histories. We never did find out any details about Dwight's past. While I understand that The Man is deliberately left as a mystery, I'd like to know just a little more about him than the movie gives us.
  • Let me say up front that I understand it's paying homage to the film noir genre. Nevertheless, I was getting really annoyed with the way the female characters were written by approximately the third vignette or so.

    I'd need to see it again to be 100% sure, but as I recall, not a single female character had fought back prior to the Gail/Dwight sequence (and that one started with Dwight's current girlfriend getting slapped around by Jackie). Unfortunately, after getting to see Miho kick some butt, we went back almost immediately to the dame needing to be rescued.

    It grates on my nerves to see so many weak female characters. If the director is trying to update a classic genre with a contemporary lens, indeed, if he's going to bring film noir into current times with today's film standards on violence, then it would be consistent to update the depiction of the women. I could go on about this, but I said this was going to be a mini-review, and I'll stick to that.

  • The narrative felt a bit too thin. I know we weren't supposed to get to know any one character particularly well, but the style of the movie almost overshadowed its content at times, it seemed. In direct contradiction of that statement, the technique perhaps overly enhanced its material: would we have been as interested if the movie had been filmed in full color? Could it stand on its own?

    Summary:
    Okay movie, but not a great movie. I was disappointed. In no way do I consider it likely to be the best movie of the year, as some reviewers have prematurely christened it.

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    Comments

    ( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
    jasondemotte
    Apr. 4th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC)
    I'll probably put my thoughts up on my own LJ later, but I'll put up a few thoughts on the women. Wendy (Goldie's sister) wasn't a victim. She even managed to take down Marv, which the movie shows is no meager feat. Nancy might have been a victim, but she was certainly a strong victim, refusing to give into her fear. And the prostitutes of Old Town saved not only Gail but Dwight as well. Miho ("Deadly little Miho." God I love that) is of course the strongest example, and I agree that it probably could have used more strong women, but I don't think it was totally deprived of strong women.
    pointedview
    Apr. 4th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
    Wendie didn't exactly take down Marv: Marv allowed himself to be taken due to his own personal code of not hurting women. Remember when he stood up from the chair and she realized that he had been permitting her to vent? Additionally, she didn't avenge her sister: she let him do it.

    I already mentioned that I agree with you on Gail and Dwight, and never said that it was totally deprived of strong women, just that they were a tiny minority in the picture.
    pointedview
    Apr. 4th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
    My previous response sounded more terse than I intended -- am just dashing out the door from work. :) Didn't mean to sound grouchy!
    jasondemotte
    Apr. 5th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC)
    No not at all, my response was rushed for similar reasons.

    Wendy was able to shoot Marv and knock him unconscious. She was also more then willing to take out her revenge. Yeah Marv managed to survive her shooting him point blank, could have easily killed her during the interogation with Gail and the girls, and he prevented her from taking out her revenge on Kevin, but I think this says more about Marv's montsterous perservernce in seeking his revenge more then any weakness in Wendy.

    Like I said I do agree that a few more strong women would have been nice, but more then just Miho impressed me.
    ( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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