Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

2014, Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn) -- Netflix

The first movie, Sin City, is from the days before Frank Miller proved himself to be a misogynist and dropped from the hearts & minds of the comic book world. Oh, there are still the mouth breathers that love what he does and what he stands for, but really, despite having created some of the most iconic images out there, he is not liked very much these days. The extreme worlds he creates, film noir but full of ultra-violence and over the top characters, are still compelling but I am not sure if the world wants it anymore, and even Robert Rodriguez seems to be calling this one in.

As the movie opened, my first thoughts were, "Was it always this cartoony?" I remember Sin City with its shadows, the angles and the stark black vs white. But I don't remember it being so phony looking. Maybe its just time, but for the most part, the movie forgets how to setup a scene, much of them looking like SyFy level green screen creations. Cartoony. Only the scenes that are built straight from the comic have any weight to them, any allure and wonder. THOSE scenes look incredible.  Nancy on her bed in a halo of the sheets. Dwight coming in through the skylight. But even the tastefully (*snerk*) done nude scenes with Eva Green become tiresome as the "look! artful shadows! obscuring smoke!" is used over and over and over. By the end of the movie, I was wishing the style was done away with for this movie.

As for the movie itself, it resurrects the mixed stories and chronology of the first but messes up any continuity, completely, utterly and confoundingly. Marv should be dead for about half the movie, based on what he did in the first. If they are happening concurrently, then at least cut his hair to mirror the first's, not that silly mullet he is wearing. And even if you ignore the Dwight is not Clive Owen bit, things gets messed up there too. Yes, this movie requires Googling someone's blog post to even make half-sense of the timelines. That is what nails the coffin lid down for this movie, showing it to be slapped together for dollars and not whatsoever for the art it could be.

Was there anything enjoyable to warrant the Like I gave it on Netflix?  Yes, Josh Brolin is utterly brilliant in this, from his glare and growl to the way his body moves. He is solid meat and willpower and carries every scene he is in. Eva Green really plays the Miller iconic woman, i.e. All Women Are Evil Manipulative Witches, to the tee. Yes, her breasts do as much of the acting as she does, but she really seems to relish these roles. And Gordon Joseph Levitt's truncated character arc is completely sold; you could tell he just dove into the role, and I just loved loved loved those stacks of coins they gambled with. Really, those coins made me forgive much of the movie.

OK, I suppose I should own up a bit. I won't deny the Nancy dance scenes still work for me. But her story arc was wasted.  Having her go nutzoid and Marv tagging along like a lovesick puppy was a disappointment, because one of the things the first movie had established is that Nancy gained strength from the death of Hartigan. Shame.