Sin City

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Distributed by: Dimension Films

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano



     “Walk down the right alley in Sin City and you can find anything.”  It’s a tagline that whispers of seedy dealings, intrigue and adventure; and does it ever deliver. 

     Sin City follows three stories that overlap slightly and centers around the Roark family: A Senator, a Cardinal, and a yellow bastard. 

     In the first story—broken up into two parts—Bruce Willis plays officer Hartigan, the only good cop in a town of corruption.  He’s one hour until retirement—yeah, that old cliché—and on the trail of a serial rapist/killer who just happens to be the son of a powerful Senator.   

     I found myself rooting for him and his cause most of all, clenching my fist when he faced one seemingly impossible obstacle after another.  And in a movie with three distinct stories that barely touched one another’s paths, a movie where anyone can die, Bruce Willis’ part built up a lot of suspense and garnered some much needed sympathy.  He’s also the only character who isn’t morally bankrupt—or at least morally in debt—but that didn’t take away in the slightest from his appeal, nor did his good-guy nature drown in the sea of dubious ethics.  

     The second story follows Marv (Mickey Rourke), a parolee, with bad genes and a mental power that has him skating the razor’s edge of becoming a psychopath—and that’s saying something in a town like this.  Marv find love and loss in Goldie (Jamie King), and finds an outlet for his aggression when she ends up murdered in his bed as part of a plot to frame him for the deaths of five other women.  Cutting a swath of death and sacrilege, Marv works his way up the food chain of criminals until he finds the man that killed his love (Elijah Wood, aka, Kevin) and the man that ordered the frame (Cardinal Roark). 

     Marv tackles cops, gangsters, and a farm boy with a pension for cannibalism, all for the love of a woman who he only knew for one night.  That kind of romance is a rare gem in any movie, but it has a special allure in a movie besieged by the kind violence Sin City offers.

     The final story follows Dwight (Clive Owen), an ex-con with a new face and a love of ladies.  While protecting one love from Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro), Dwight stumbles into a heap of trouble with his old love, Gail (Rosario Dawson), and is caught in the middle of a powder keg of violence between the independent hookers of Old Town and police that want to shut it down. 

     This is the sickest movie I’ve seen since Natural Born Killers, and I loved every minute of it.  It had a compelling narrative, a very film noir feel to it, great action scenes, and, at heart, was a story of love and honor in a place that seldom has any. 

     It truly is a comic book come to life.  Even if you’ve never read the comic books, you could easily pick out the panels that inspired the scenes.  The black and white backdrop with the sprays of bright colors make this film a visual buffet, and really gives a larger than life persona to all of the characters. 

     The actions scenes are pulse-racing and dramatic, with a comic’s exaggerated flare built in just for kicks.  The movie really brings to life a world where an average man can splinter a wooden door with just his shoulder, jump down a five story building and land on his feet, take a grenade to the chest and still keep fighting, and get riddled with bullets without bleeding to death.  It’s gory yet surreal at the same time, detached from reality by its exaggeration, with catchy, badass dialogue that you’ll find yourself looking for a reason to repeat. 

     This movie is a must see for anyone who’s a fan of comic books, actions movies, old gangster films, and even romance movies—it’s harder to find, but it’s in there.  But be warned, this movie isn’t for everyone.  You have to have a good sense of humor and a stable psyche, otherwise, you might miss the fun of it, and that would be a shame. 

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