Sinful Pleasure

MoviesSaw Sin City (in full digital projection) this past weekend.

Absolutely brilliant.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s everything the critics say it is. Misogynistic (or perhaps just overwhelmingly misanthropic), nihilistic, and exceedingly violent. The artistic style does diminish the sheer gore factor of it all, but it’s still jarring (and the repeated groin injuries are positively cringe-inducing).

For my part, I’ve got criticisms — Clive Owen does a fine job, but the middle story (“The Big Fat Kill”) never quite reaches the intensity of the others (“The Hard Goodbye” and “That Yellow Bastard”). And while changes from the original books are minimal, one change (involving cop Bruce Willis’s partner, played by Michael Madsen) is particularly jarring; I understand why they had to do it (something to do with the elimination of another story, “A Dame to Kill For”), but it’s still a bit tough to swallow.

But overall? A tour de force. The casting is dead-on perfect — especially Mickey Rourke as Sin City icon “Marv.” Hell, it was enough for me to break out my old Marv stone bust and an original print — both autographed by Frank Miller himself. Nick Stahl and Elijah Wood are way beyond creepy. And Jessica Alba hits just the right combination of seductiveness and innocence. (In fact, I’d argue that her decision not to appear topless in the film — despite playing a stripper — helped convey the paternalistic relationship between Willis and her. Yes, I know that’s blasphemy among the arrested-adolescent fanboy set, but it’s still true.)

I’ve already got the “Making of the Movie” book on order. I’ll probably go see it again once my brother manages to make it into town. And you can be damn sure it’ll be on my DVD shelf the day it comes out.

Of course, it does all serve to remind me that on the one occasion when I actually met Miller, I asked him point blank about the prospects of Sin City being made into a movie, and he told me unequivocally no. Not gonna happen. He was happy with it just the way it was, and he wasn’t about to change that.

I’m glad to see that Robert Rodriguez was able to prove him wrong. Even if it does (retroactively) make my sole encounter with the man basically a lie.


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