How successful can a film be after making very few changes from the source material?
Sin City revolves around the lives of Basin City’s unlikely heroes and through their own words the story unravels the shady word they live in. The story revolves around protagonists, Marv (Mickey Rourke), who is worried he may have finally turned into a psycho killer, Dwight (Clive Owen), a killer with a new face and Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a policeman aiming to save a young girl from being killed.
Directors Robert Rodriquez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino separate the film from normal crime dramas by using visuals directly from the graphic novel and provide bold and highly stylised imagery that keeps the audience thoroughly entertained. Keeping the world as close to the source material as possible helps soften the effects of the extreme violence allowing it to go further than usual; one of the best example of this is Marv dragging someone alongside his car while pressing their face against the ground which is hugely violent and with naturalistic imagery that would be too much for a crime thriller and more fitting for gore filled horror.
Of the three protagonists it is Hartigan who is most identifiable as a traditional film hero as he is a good cop in a corrupt system trying to save a young girl from a child-molesting killer. Willis brings an endearing human side to this character through his frailty and willingness to continue after being shot and having a minor heart attack.
Although the cast is predominately made up of strong male characters it is The Girls of Old Town that dominate their area of the city. The leader, Gail, is brought to life wonderfully by Rosario Dawson who brings an excellent natural dominance to the warrior leader without losing the alluring sexuality expected of a silver screen prostitute. Gail’s joy at the slaughter of her enemies is a highlight of Dawson’s performance as it shows just how unhinged she can be putting her in a class of her own.
Sin City is a celebration of just what can be done with CGI when working with a look that is a mix of classic film noir and the graphic artistic beauty of Miller’s source material. It is cleverly written, has interesting characters and is an amazing visual feast.