Monday, April 11

Seen City

Best. Comic-Movie. Ever.

Walk down any alley in Sin City, and you can find anything.

That’s a line you’ll hear Mickey Rourke’s character Marv utter from the movie Sin City, and this seems to also hold true for here in Metro Manila. For literally, in some back-alley, I found myself a dvd copy of this Robert Rodriguez-Frank Miller opus. Now, suffice to say that I would NEVER go through the lengths I did for just any film (the only other film I can think of is Final Fantasy Advent Children). But this was Sin City, a movie that is touted to be THE most true translation of a graphic novel to cinematic form, and I just could not resist the temptation. It’s fitting, I think. Anyway, I did promise myself that I would NOT watch the film if the copy was bad- well, the picture is obviously a film transfer, but it is actually quite watchable- thanks to the fact that most of the film is in black and white anyway. It was the sound though- very good sound- that got me going forward and watching the whole thing.

My gosh. What a rush.

Sin City is a visual feast. It is, literally, a graphic novel, a comic translated into film seemingly panel-for-panel, image for image, character for character. It also seems to have gone through word-for-word, since the film has tons of dialogue- monologues, comic booky-lines and paragraphs of text uttered as blatantly as text boxes. However, it works. You watch the rich images onscreen and absorb every word and it works.

Suffice to say that this film is not for everyone. It doesn’t shirk from the expected violence gleaned from the source material. The hard hits are toned down by the fact that blood is often of a different color than red, or the comical reactions of some characters to getting perforated by bullets or impaled by arrows. Stilll, it’s not for the squeamish, though all of us movie geeks who loved Kill Bill will feel right at home.
As for the nudity, there are several scenes with frontal nudity, which I feel will get the censors’ scissors… get the DVD, people, for the full view of Carla Gugino’s perfect bumpers. Heh.

The blood and T&A aside though, Sin City is a menagerie of dark stories, interconnected slightly as characters from each of the three chapters appear throughout. The best of the three is easily The Hard Goodbye, involving concrete-hard thug Marv’s relentless, shake-heaven-and-hell hunt for the murderer of his ‘angel’, Goldie (Jamie King in a double-role). As I’ve heard and read in reviews, the casting of Elijah Wood in the role of the silent but deadly Kevin is a master stroke.

The Big Fat Kill comes in second, relating the attempt of shadowy good guy Dwight (Clive Owen) to protect the Ladies of Old Town (gun-toting, self-protecting hookers) when a fragile truce is endangered. This has tons of ladies in leather and skimpy outfits with guns, though it’s head superbitch Gail (played by Rosario Dawson who looks a UNIVERSE away from her character in Men In Black 2) and mute super slayer Miho (a thoroughly ninja-licious Devon Aoki) who own the screen. My only gripe is that Michael Clarke Duncan’s villain Manute isn’t given enough screen time or explanation. Otherwise, this chapter has girls, guns, swords, IRA hitmen and Devon Aoki jumping around with swords. DAMN!

Finally, there’s the chapter devoted to adapting That Yellow Bastard. This story is split, both beginning and ending the film. It’s mainly about aging honest cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis at his most intense) trying to protect the life of lovely Nancy Callaghan (Jessica Alba), a girl targeted by the titular Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl from Terminator 3). Some say it’s the sweetest yarn, a love story between an old soldier and an innocent angel, and it is easily the most dramatic- though I reserve the sweetest for Hard Goodbye. Still, Jessica Alba is radiant, while Bruce Willis is at his most brooding best here. Can’t say no to that.

Overall, the movie is the same as the comics- dark, brooding and often depressing. But with the depression and despair comes courage that defies all odds and ultimately wins redemption for the blood-spattered souls in Basin City. It’s not hard to see why the Sin City books are so popular. I’m already a fan just from watching the movie.

Sin City delivers. Yes, I agree with the gushing reviews. Yes, this is THE most perfect comic to movie translation yet. It’s true, it’s true. The casting and imagery perfectly capture the comic. The performances vary, but all in all this shows solid work by an incredible emsemble cast. The men are men, the ladies and ladies and damn sweet. Ah, the ladies.

Darn great watch. Right up there with Kung Fu Hustle for my fave movies of the year so far. Gonna watch this film again with the gang at the theaters. Gonna get the DVD. Might even get the comics. What can I say? Sin City ROCKS. We want more, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Miller. MORE!

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