Sin City is a 2005 film directed by Frank Miller, who also directed Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, produced 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire; and was also an uncredited writer for the Netflix shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The other directors were Robert Rodriguez, who directed the Spy Kids films and From Dusk Till Dawn, and special guest director, Quentin Tarantino.
Sin City is made up of multiple stories put together, with two stories being cut in half and put either side two other stories. The first story isn’t relevant to anything, it’s only used as an intro and outro of the film where a man who is credited as ‘The Man’, played by Josh Hartnett, is some sort of hitman who kills a woman in a red dress and a main character at the end. This was the concept scene that Robert Rodriguez filmed to convince Frank Miller to allow him to adapt Sin City, and which brings you into the world of Sin City, giving you a glimpse of the style to come.
The next story we are introduced to starts off with detective named Hartigan, played by Bruce Willis, who frees a girl named Nancy from captivity but must take responsibility for the kidnapping as the real kidnapper is the son of the Senator. Hartigan is locked up for 8 years, being forced to confess to a crime he didn’t commit. When Hartigan gets out, he tries to find Nancy, who is now 19, but the real kidnapper follows him so he can finish what he started. So now Hartigan must protect Nancy from being kidnapped again.
The second story is Marv, played by Mickey Rourke, who is set up to take the fall for a hooker named Goldie, played by Jaime King, who has been killed. Marv must find out who the killer is and, during that, goes on a massive revenge spree, killing people left and right in gruesome and brutal ways.
The next story follows Dwight, played by Clive Owen, who threatens a gang who hit his girlfriend, played by Brittany Murphy. This leads to Dwight chasing the gang into Old Town, which then starts a turf war when something bad happens, which then needs to be covered up. This storyline gets out of hand quickly!
The three main characters – Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke and Clive Owen – all share the same type of personality. They are very rough and angry looking characters, and the actors go all out, over the top even, in making these characters seem like they are failing in life, taking wrong turns and attempting to fix their mistakes.
At points, the acting seems bad, with the actors forcing their lines too much but that might be down to the style of the film or the fact they are paying homage to older detective films and to the graphic novel by exaggerating the dialogue. Some people will see this as a negative, but if it’s being faithful to the source material, I can forgive it for that.
This film is based on the graphic novel ‘Sin City’, running from 1991 to 1992, by Frank Miller who also adapted it to the screenplay. Frank Miller also made the Marvel Daredevil comics running from 1981 to 1983 and DC’s The Dark Knight Returns in 1986. Miller has had his fair share of writing experiences. When he moved his Sin City graphic novel onto the big screen, he didn’t want to change anything, so he copied and pasted the dialogue over to have a true adaptation.
The voiceovers bring extra character to each person. On the outside, they are a tough, strong, big person, like Marv, but when their thoughts are projected with the use of voiceovers, they become soft, talking about love and describing how people look. It’s a big contrast between the outside and inside.
Robert Rodriguez did the same when it came to the cinematography. He looked through the graphic novel and copied each shot to also have a true adaption. Each board in the novel is a shot in the film so everything from the characters to the dialogue to the visuals is all faithful to the original source material.
The use of selective colour in the film adds to the personalities of the characters; a red dress, red lipstick, blue eyes, blood etc. The use of blue shows vulnerability, while red is used for danger.
I wanted to watch this film because I’ve been thinking about using that style. I hope watching it would help me make up my mind.
There are two obvious things I’ll be taking away from this film:
- The voiceover. The use of it when describing the characters surroundings and thoughts work so well that I think I could take that and use it to describe my character’s surroundings and thoughts as he progresses through the story.
- The selective colour. I feel like selective colour will work in my world and my story. I’ll point out the important things in the scene to draw the eyes of the audience to the object or person.
Overall, this is a very faithful adaptation of the graphic novel and the visual style is unique and original as no other film has done anything like it. In some places, there is bad acting that puts you off just a little bit but that doesn’t stop the gruesome gore-fest that happens on screen.