Sin City, from the very first, is the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. It begs to be seen on the big screen, and the sight is a wonder. Filmed in black and white, the film throws in gorgeous splashes of vivid color, in all the right places. The tactic is used often, but not over-done, appropriate and effective, a sense of aesthetic intelligence rules the picture. The style is simply genius, excitingly revolutionary.
A comparison might be appropriate. For those who marveled at the visually powerful What Dreams May Come, this film provides an even more amazing visual experience. By far. That film was a child's sidewalk drawing to Sin City's masterpiece. Regardless of the film, my eyes will be saddened by the next movie I see.
While the optical effects were unparalleled, my eyes weren't the only senses rejoicing. The film was simply visceral. Maybe the sound in the theater was turned too high, but I actually felt a suddenly thrown punch. I could imagine the pain of a searing bullet. I was almost in the movie the same way a reader almost enters a novel - the action was that close.
Although the experience of the film is full, the characters, and the plot, are not. Perhaps this is a function of the material. Sin City is film noir. It plays on archetypes and cliches like a kid at a pinball game. The characters are rough sketches, as deep as a backyard wading pool. The smilies grow as tired as a narcoleptic on a double shift.
See what I mean?
The film focuses on three or four separate plots, with three separate heroes. The villains are all connected, and there is some interaction in the plots, but the viewer essentially gets three story-lines. They come out with the plot lines already perforated for the audience, and they're perhaps a bit overdrawn. The movie runs a bit long, 126 minutes - and further editing might have been nice. But the pace is perfect, and more editing may have damaged the final product. I'm willing to trust the artists on this one, but those with small bladders, be forewarned.
The shortcomings are easily forgiven when you look at what the work is trying to be. There are no attempts at depth because the film is in many ways farce. The action is over the top (and extremely violent. Those turned off by violence should avoid this film). The characters are caricatures. There is no room for subtlety - the film spells it all out. But this is precisely on purpose. Film noir is no less an artful genre than any other film style. Sin City might not rise beyond its genre, but it perfects it like never before.
I give it an A
Where does this mean world cast its cold eye?
Who's left to suffer long about you?