FMP Research – The Film Review Blog – Sin City: Theatrical Version

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.Related image

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.Image result for sin city Marv

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!

Image result for sin city Dwight

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.

Related image

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.


FMP – Budget

I had no real budget or no real idea how much all this was going to cost so when it came time to buy everything and sort everything out, it was a tad bit of a shock. This post will break down everything I bought and how much the whole film cost in the end.


Hood: £1.53 each

£1.53 x 5 = £7.65 + £5 shipping = £12.65

Trousers: £9.49 each

£9.49 x 2 = £18.98 + £5.97 shipping = £24.95

Gloves: £2.70 for a pack of three

£2.70 x 2 = £5.40

Mask: £8.98 for a pack of 5


Waist Coat: £12.59 for one

£12.59 + £3.95 shipping = £16.54

Overcoat: £13.77

£13.77 + £13.07 shipping = £26.84

Fake Blood: £8.27 per bottle

£8.27 + £7.10 shipping = £15.37

Fake Knifes: £1.00 each

£1.00 x 5 = £5.00

Smart Shirt: £5.00


12.65 + 24.95 + 5.40 + 8.98 + 16.54 + 26.84 + 15.37 + 5.00 + 5.00 = £120.73

It was a lot more than I was expecting but with a film like this, I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. My future goal is to plan my money a lot more efficiently so I have an understanding of how much every is going to cost so then I have time to put money to the side.

FMP Experiments – Black and White or Colour or BOTH!?!

Having a dedicated look for your film is very important but I’ve got three choices to break down and show the pros the cons for each one.

Why am I having this issue? Why don’t I just be normal and stick with colour? These days, films are visually very similar. For this film, I want to try something new and not be boring. It is impossible to be original with the way a film looks but I want to try and add something that makes the film pop with interest.

The two simple choices are black and white, or colour. If I choose black and white, I’m paying homage to the classic detective films of the 1940s and 50s. Black and white is still being used in film today, to either have a simplistic style or in tribute to older films. But it might become too plain and boring as there are countless black and white films so it’s nothing new or original.Black and White.png

If I go with colour, I have an opportunity to play with as many colour styles as possible. I have a lot of leeway when it comes to colour as I can change the RGB’s, exposure, temperature, whites, blacks, saturation, vibrance etc. There are many choices when using colour, but with black and white, I can only change the brightness and contrast of the image.ooooooo, spiral.jpg

If I do keep it coloured, I’ll need a good enough reason to and justify why I made this decision. If I change the image colour wise, by changing the vibrance or anything that affects the image visually, I’ll also need a good reason to because if I don’t, I’ll be marked down because I have no goal.

Most likely, I’ll merge black and white with colour, giving it a ‘Sin City’ style where parts of the image will be coloured and everything else is black and white. This is a very stylised look and will be hard to pull off but with time and effort, it’ll look very clean and cool. And with films mostly being either black and white, or colour, merging the two will be original and unique as only a hand full of films have done this.Black and White and Colour.png

The upsides to this look are that it can draw the eyes of the audience to things you want them to see, something important like an object that is crucial to the story. I’ve planned I’ll be colourizing the blood at the end and the case file that is shown throughout the film, which are things that move the story forward and foreshadow something later in the film.

The downside to this effect is the time it’ll take to pull it off, as it’ll need a massive chunk of post-production time reserved to give the effort and dedication it’ll need to be convincing. This will mean I’ll have to lock my edit earlier than expected to finish the style of the shots. But if I want more time dedicated to editing, then black and white, or colour, would be better options.

The last thing I want to do is be boring. I want my film to pop and be visually interesting – I won’t be able to do that if it’s a bland-looking image. Which is why I’ll be going with black and white with colour.

The Weekly FMP Blog #15 – (29th May – 2nd June)

Let’s go hiking for the day, shall we?

This week, more specifically Wednesday 31st, I took my actors up to Hound Tor on Dartmoor to shoot various shots throughout the film, and the final scene with Mike and the killers. This was the biggest scene to film, so managing my time was crucial.

At the start of the day, I only needed two people with me, TJ, who plays Mike Bolt, and Jowan, who plays two killers at the start of the fight scene and helped me with the fight choreography. I told the rest to come at 2pm which meant I didn’t have 4 people waiting around all day.

We started filming the various shots that are shown throughout the film so we could have more time to concentrate on the fight scene. The scene changed location due to the number of hikers who showed up, although this actually helped with the later shots, so I was pleased we found a different space.

The fight choreography changed as well. When I told Jowan what I was going for, he suggested more ways of performing it, and he made it look more realistic. He also cleaned up bits that weren’t working during the fight, so I was very glad I brought him along in the morning.

In the end, we didn’t stick to the shot list. We had very little time to keep looking back at the list so I improvised a lot of the shots and with the fight scene changing location, it was basically thrown out the window. I did use it for the shots that are spread out through the film but even then, I still changed them. I treat shot lists as some sort of reminder when it comes to on-set shooting. I only use it for a quick look at what I was thinking before to get in the same mindset, then I carry on without looking at it again.

Everything went very smoothly while shooting. I didn’t miss anything so I didn’t have to drag my actors back out into the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday was my original filming deadline but had plans to shoot after that, if needed. While looking through the footage, I made a big script change, moving and deleting scenes that either didn’t make sense, felt out of place or was slowing the plot down. I realised, after doing this, I’ve done all the filming I need – Mike settling into the house, the montage, the night scene and the Dartmoor shots… I was going to do extra scenes like Mike being given the case, but it felt very out of place and it slowed the plot down too much.

Now that I’ve done my production stage, it’s time to go full on into post-production where I’ll be editing, VFX-ing and making everything look good.

FMP Research – The Film Review Blog – Seven


The 1995 film ‘Seven’, or ‘Se7en’, is directed by David Fincher who, before this film, directed Alien 3 and swore never to direct a film ever again. I’m glad he did. The film stars Brad Pitt who plays Detective Mills, Morgan Freeman who plays Detective Somerset, Gwyneth Paltrow who plays Tracy and Kevin Spacey who plays John Doe.

The story follows William Somerset, a retiring detective, and David Mills, a detective who was relocated by his request, who become partners for the week as Somerset settles Mills into his new position before he retires. Their first case together is a suspected homicide with a man apparently eating until he burst. Somerset refuses to carry on as he doesn’t want a big case for his final week but is denied reassignment to another case while Mills is put on another case.

Somerset goes back to the original crime scene to search for clues and finds the word gluttony. At Mills’s new crime scene, the word greed is spelt out in blood. Somerset then connects the two cases together using the seven deadly sins; Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Lust, Pride, Envy and Wrath. Five more murders take place, and Somerset and Mills become obsessed in the killer’s methods and skill.

Brad Pitt plays the light-hearted detective, David Mills, who has moved to the un-named city with his wife. This city is set up as a horrible place and people ask him throughout the film why he moved here and his reason is that he wants to ‘do some good’ and was attracted to this city full of dread and crime, which confuses Somerset.

Brad Pitt had just come off filming ‘Legends of the Fall’ and was fed up with these stereotypical and predictable roles and stories and wanted a change. He was attracted to ‘Seven’ because of the ending, which was the same as many actors on the project. When the studio called for a re-write of the ending, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman said they’d leave the project if it was changed. The studio backed off and the ending remained.

Image result for Seven Brad pitt

Somerset is a serious, yet wise, detective who has been living in the city for most of his life and is fed up with the amount of crime and violence there is on the streets. He is a man who keeps to himself, quiet and most of the time alone, yet has a soft heart, worrying about families affected by the killings. He is very sarcastic when it comes to people who point out the obvious, or to people that are in his way.

Image result for Seven Morgan freeman

Kevin Spacey plays John Doe, the main antagonist of the film, and is definitely one of the best performances and villains of all time. The emotionless character performs inhumane acts that disturb the characters and the audience just thinking about what happened. He is the devil, and Kevin Spacey owned the role. I can’t think of anyone who could replace him.

Image result for seven kevin spacey

Andrew Walker, who also wrote ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘The Wolfman’, was the man behind this intense and violent script. He started off with writing an episode of ‘Tales From the Crypt’ in 1993, and then found fame when he wrote the script for ‘Seven’. After that, he wrote ‘8mm’ starring Nicolas Cage and then got called in by David Fincher to script doctor the film ‘Fight Club’. He has slowed down on writing but the nightmares he put on paper will always be there.

His ideas of violence and gore are shown through the eyes of David Fincher which really adds to the dark grittiness of the screenplay. He has obviously put a lot of planning into this rollercoaster of events, bringing in the seven deadly sins, amazingly disturbing acts committed on people and multiple plot twists that are both unpredictable and shocking. Even with controversy when it first came out, the ending is one of the best closures to a film ever with the intense and shocking ‘What’s in the box?!’ scene.

Andrew also doesn’t disclose where this film is set, revealing only what the characters think about where they are based. They talk about it being crime-ridden, and a place no one wants to stay. This adds a whole new mystery of why they aren’t revealing the location, adding a sense of discomfort with the characters.

The cinematography was directed by Darius Khondji, who later did cinematography for Alien: Resurrection, The Immigrant and The Lost City of Z.

A lot of the shots are very smooth and planned with very little handheld camera shaking, which shows the detectives slowly working the case out or having the upper hand on John Doe. David Fincher and Darius Khondji use handheld camera shakes when the characters are either in an unfamiliar place, like the Sloth scene or when they are under stress. What this does is show the audience when the characters are at their weakest and most vulnerable.

A perfect example of this is when Mills finds out his wife has been murdered by John Doe. His slow realisation of what John is talking about is unveiled with a slow dolly towards Mills. It then cuts to a static shot of John and a handheld shot of Mills and Somerset which continues until John is inevitably shot. This handheld camera look signifies Mills’s world crumbling around him. It shows the dominant character in the scene, John Doe, controlling what Mills thinks.

The opening title sequence is a very iconically disturbing due to its use of sound and imagery that makes the audience uncomfortable to watch yet is so distinctive and interesting that you can’t stop watching. The music adds to this discomfort with its dirty and most of the time muffled instruments. It’s mainly made up of a guitar being played but filtered to make it sound like it’s being played in a tin and this gives it a very unique sound and feel.

Image result for Seven opening title sequence

The production team used real, violent crime scene photos to give this opening sequence that extra creep, stomach-turning factor that sticks in your mind. The imagery isn’t random, each clip tells you a bit about the killer without revealing his identity. The countless shots of the book with his scribblings and grotesque pictures begin to piece together what type of character John Doe is; it tells us he doesn’t hold back when it comes to his creative murders. Each picture shows how ruthless and inhumane he is – performing these crimes and the imagery of cutting himself to hide his identity. Just from the opening title sequence, he is someone to be feared.

The two main elements of this film I used as inspiration for my film is the overall feel of the film and the opening sequence. The feel is a very bleak and unpleasant, not a place you’d want to go or live and this is all set up with the amount of crime that’s taking place. This world we are introduced to is sickly and dirty and it creates such a dark feel to everything.

The opening scene has things flashing onto the screen from writing into a book to fingers being cut. All these are either close-ups or extreme close-ups, giving a depth of field blur to the image to make the audience concentrate on certain elements shown on the screen. I really like the way clips are overlaid with opacity and some clips sped up to give the sense of time passing which I’m a big fan of.

Overall, this is one of my favourite films of all time with disturbing imagery, captivating performances and riveting plot twists. David Fincher brings Andrew Walker’s gruesome and unnerving script to life in a brutal fashion and really shows what David Fincher is capable of.


The Weekly FMP Blog #14 – Preparation is Key (22nd – 26th May)

Next week is the week where I film on the moors which takes up much of the film, so if I don’t get this right, it won’t be good. I’m in the middle of making a shot list for the scene I’ll be shooting on Wednesday on the moors at Hound Tor. This scene will be spread out through the film but is the main climax at the end where Mike Bolt dies. It’ll be a fight scene so planning those shots aren’t crucial because I’ll go through the fight a couple of times and shoot from different angles.

I’m only shot listing the shots where there isn’t any fighting so I can quickly get those shots done and then concentrate on the fight for the majority of the time I’m there. I’m doing this so that I can spend more time filming and less time thinking up shots on the spot. I will be changing some of these shots to fit the scene but at least I have some sort of structure to follow.

Organising actors is a challenge but was quickly done. I told the two actors I needed for the morning shoot to head to a location for pick up, and the rest are coming in the afternoon. There’s no point in having everyone there all day, when they won’t all be needed. For the afternoon shoot, I told the driver the plan and allowed him to organise the rest.

I have also finished the Live by the Riverside logo, I spent around an hour a night to complete it and it didn’t dominate my work time but now it’s over I can now concentrate fully on my FMP and prepare for Wednesday.

This is a short one, only because I’m preparing to film and nothing else is happening. I’ll have a long one for next week as that’s when I’m filming up on the moors.

The Weekly FMP Blog #13 – Black Out Filming (15th – 19th May)

This week I completed my night scenes involving TJ and Toby talking about the killer.

From the start, it seemed to go smoothly, with a few shots taking longer than others because of the actors either messing up or laughing. Once we got into it, we started to speed up with the conversation scene going fairly well. We finished with the killer invading the house, knocking TJ’s character unconscious and killing Toby’s character.

Overall it went very well, I got everything I wanted in a reasonable amount of time. I did make a script change with the fight scene as I felt like the concept of the fight, with the lights being turned on and off again, didn’t make sense so I decided to make the lights turn off permanently and only have the light of the torch shine the room as I’m wanting the audience to be as confused as TJ’s character is in the scene.

As this was someone else’s house, we needed to keep the noise down so we wouldn’t wake them. This caused some issue with understanding the characters as they spoke too quietly for the camera to hear. I’ve brought the volume up which works but then the background noise is a lot clearer so I’m needing to take each audio clip into Adobe Audition to remove that annoying hissing sound.

While there, I did take on board what I said in the ‘Shooting in Dark Places’ blog post with making sure there was enough light to see but keep the IOS down so the camera doesn’t have any grain showing. I did have some grain in the image but can easily take care of that inside After Effects with their plugin called ‘Remove grain’. All I need to do is put up the ‘Grain Reduction’ slider, but too much and the image becomes a bit blurred – so I also added sharpen to make it less out of focus.

I am needing to go back there to shoot TJ waking up and finding out where to go but I’ll do that at a later date as I now need to focus for the next big shooting day on the moors.

I’m also doing a secondary project for a studio I’m a part of, creating a logo for a new web series they are setting up. This might take a bit of time so it’s wise to manage my time to ensure I can get both of these projects done in time without making one a priority over the other.

Next week I will be focusing on making the essential documents to help the shoot go as smoothly as possible. As this shooting day is a big one, I need to be prepared.