SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR splashes (blood red) onto our home screens. This black & white surreal neo-noir forces us down the “wrong” back alley this time. While we get the return of insane action & brutal violence, I feel like we also get an unwanted dose of confusion.
I remember reading the SIN CITY comics years ago. The stark black & white contrast of each panel, occasionally violated by sharp colouring, really drew my attention. The esthetic was so crisp & clean, until it gets attacked with gore & depravity. The art was a real selling point with those comic books. OR “graphic novels” if you’re too uppity to say you’re a grown ass man / woman reading something like a “comic book”.
Once I read the pages, I quicky realized the WORDS were just as powerful as the imagehs, though equally stark and crisp. The hard boiled narrative really lended itself well to the noir stylings and stories. FRANK MILLER is the man responsible for both. His R-Rated grimy approach helped fully realize Basin City as a dangerous setting full of dangerous settings.
Since I read the comics, I knew what to expect from the storylines. I really fear that if you don’t know a few things up front you’ll be totally confused as to who is who, and the complicated timelines shifting from past to present. The casting changes just further complicates things.
For example, Clive Owen’s character returns. But you might not ever know it, unless you’re really good with names. Um, I think it’s Dwight. This movie visits Dwight’s past. I won’t ruin the story here, but what I will say is JOSH BROLIN plays Dwight.
By the time we get closer to present day, I imagine it would be hard to tell he is Clive Owen. Um, if you’ve seen it, maybe you understand that cryptic analysis better. That said, Brolin totally delivers in this role. He’s a subdued badass with a suggested broken heart. Plus, his gravelly baritone voice is great for those noir narrations.
Thankfully, Mickey ROURKE returns as the mad crestfallen brawler,MARV. I just wish we had more of him. This is a good example of where to deviate from the source material. Especially since Marv’s best story has been told in the first SIN CITY. Rourke is so impressive in this role. He somehow nails the comedic aspects without over-doing it. And of course, he certainly knows how to drink & kick ass.
The most interesting returning character NANCY played by JESSICA ALBA. The exotic dancer evolves into a vigilante DIRTY HARRY like her father-figure, BRUCE WILLIS, who was slain in the previous SIN CITY. We’re not sure if Nancy will snap and fail, or snap and succeed in her revenge.
It’s great to see Alba act. She gets to run through a gamut of emotions here. And I believed her. I really got excited when she transformed herself into a monster to slay the beast. I’d like to see her play the lead hero in a grownup thriller. She can handle the action demands, we know that. Looking to her performancd here and the recent THE KILLER INSIDE, I feel like she’s proven she can handle the character demands.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets the best “new” character. His gambling storyline is super compelling as it turns to violence. He plans his revenge for a card game against the city’ big bad baddie (a menacing POWERS BOOTHE). This evil man is the same one who Nancy searches for to revenge Willis’ murder. Just complicated enough.
EVA GREEN may very well steal the show. For more than one reason. She’s the lethal femme fatale in this film noir. She manipulates Brolin’s character. She puppeteers the entire city. She even has plans for big bad baddie Boothe.
Green plays the DAME TO KILL FOR. And she knows it. She gobbles up the scenery with delicious frenzy. She’s an over-the-top temptress willing to do anything to accomplish her goals. And I haven’t seen her this naked since the arthouse indie THE BELIEVERS from Bartolucci.
Which leads me to the imagery… ROBERT RODRIGUEZ is behind the lens again creating this stunning visual masterpiece from green screens and zero sets. What an accomplishment. He also adheres to the comic panels a.k.a. his storyboards. Sometimes to the film’s detriment. It’s worth the risk, as for fanboys like me, it’s priceless to see these memorable drawings and panels brought to life on screen.
Overall, I enjoyed myself. SIN CITY 2 delivers on its promises. Hard boiled, R rated violence, and gratuitous nudity. Despite possible narrative confusion, you should enjoy yourself too. Especially if you’re a fan of dark thrillers with strong visuals.
What do you think? Did the sequel satisfy you or was it disappointing? Was it confusing?
Did Eva Green, um, get your attention with this performance?
Did you want more Marv? Especially, at the end with Nancy?