Stumbling out of the theater, I found myself unable to comprehend what I had just witnessed. My friends were likewise too dazzled to form any thoughts. After a few moments, I was finally able to utter: “That was the coolest movie I have ever seen.”
“Sin City” is directed and produced by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, the creator of the comic book upon which the film is based. There are almost an infinite number of attributes that make this film amazing, but one is its effect on the audience that is so unlike that of any other film. Yes, it uses green-screening like “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” and yes, it is told in a series of short stories like “Pulp Fiction,” but even with these similarities, the film still seems different. In fact, “Sin City” hardly qualifies as a movie. It is more like a moving comic book. Every aspect of the film correlates with methods used in comic books.
One of the most noteworthy attributes of “Sin City” is its dialogue and narration. Almost every sentence is simple and to the point. The film even parodies the eloquence found in crooks of other crime films. The simple, brutal dialogue reflects the characters’ personalities and gives the film its force. The motives of Marv (Mickey Rourke), Dwight (Clive Owen) and Hartigan (Bruce Willis) are clear at all times, yet their simple-mindedness does not make them seem stupid or predictable; instead, it gives them a violent, animalistic quality.
A second, more subtle aspect of the film is how the audience never scoffs with disbelief. Although many of the events in “Sin City” are unrealistic (e.g., Marv leaping out a fourth-floor window and being shot 30 times by police officers, then simply patching himself up with bandages), it all remains somehow believable. This is mostly because of the amazing artwork, a mind-blowing blend of black-and-white (with splashes of color to provide definition) live action mixed with short flashes of animation that gives “Sin City” an other-worldly quality. From the beginning, the audience knows not to expect events that could transpire in the real world.
To compare “Sin City” with any other movie is difficult because it defies categorization. In one way it’s a film, in another it’s a giant painting, in still another it’s a glorious explosion of pure ecstasy. In other words, it’s a gritty, brutally violent comic book pumped full of steroids and read at 24 frames per second.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.