Bizarre Noir #4: Sin City.

Welcome to the fourth of seven posts that will review bizarre noir movies! I hope you enjoy the series. For more information or previous entries, check the posts below this one.

Sin City.

Year of Origin: 2005.

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino (for one scene).

Why it's bizarre: The comic book look and multiple stories.

Sin City is more of an art form than a movie. With a huge cast, Sin City explodes with star power in three (and a half) different stories. The first snip starts with The Man (Josh Hartnett), an assassin-for-hire. After the short scene, it continues on to Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a cop that is trying to save young Nancy from Roark Jr. (Nick Stahl). Then we have the criminal Marv (Mickey Rourke). After Goldie (Jaime King) is murdered by silent assassin Kevin (Elijah Wood), Marv travels around town trying to figure out who killed Goldie and why. Then we have Dwight (Clive Owen), a criminal with a new face, who sets out to get revenge on lady friend Shellie’s (Brittney Murphy) ex-boyfriend, Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro). But he ends up in a tougher situation than originally planned. Then it goes back to Hartigan again, after getting out of jail. He goes to find grown Nancy (Jessica Alba), the only person who had kept him sane and alive through his years in prison. But, unfortunately, a Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl) has his own secret agenda. And there’s a whole bunch of other people in the movie, too.

As far as noirs go, this movie has it all. It has the shadowy and unique camera shots (in more ways than one). It has the voice-over narration. It has all the mystery and murder and sexuality you could expect. The star-power really shines, as the movie is really well acted for what it is.

The most obvious comment for the movie is its visual style. It is very comic book, and very original for a movie (only to be redone for the later 300, though to a slightly lesser degree). It was stunning to watch the first time, and it’s still fun to watch now. There really isn’t much more to say about it than that.

The only downfall to the movie is that it’s choppy and incoherent. What I mean to say is that, with the exception of Josh Hartnett’s character and story, none of the stories intersect in any meaningful way. And I understand that each segment was based on a different comic, but they could have connected them all together somehow. They even had a good opportunity to change it all up a little bit, assuming that’s not how it was in the comics (I haven’t read them). But Marv’s story and Dwight’s story could have easily been connected plot-wise due to the prostitutes. And Hartigan’s story and Dwight’s story could have easily been connected plot-wise due to the Roarks. But they weren’t… so, really, it was kinda like the ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ movie, where each segment was almost unrelated to the one before it, making it feel slightly disjointed.

But I did love how Josh Hartnett’s character came back into play at the very end. I thought that was brilliant and made up for some of the lack of connection otherwise. So overall, I though it was brilliant in what it attempted (and succeeded) to do. It has its flaws, sure, and it’s one of those movies you have to be in the right mood to watch… but when you’re in that mood, it’s a good one.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

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