Sin City

Sin City (2005) movie poster

(2005) dir. Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino
viewed: 05/27/05 at AMC Van Ness 14, SF, CA

I just realized, looking at the list of films that I have seen in the theater, what a bunch of nerdy choices there are: sci fi, sci fi, comic book adaptation, anime…it’s kind of silly.

It has to be said that I haven’t been making it out to the theater for much and have been missing the less mainstream fare lately, despite having a number of films on my list that are less akin to these. Then again, the Metreon is incredibly close and convenient to my work and I’ll probably end up there more often than not. Well, then again, the 1000 Van Ness ain’t far either and it’s pretty much the same thing, just arranged in a different order.

What amazes me, in San Francisco, is that all the multiplexes have the exact same films, probably the exact same films playing in middle America at a multiplex, too. The great homogenizers, the multiplexes. Around here, they let the smaller theaters handle the independent and art house circuit. They don’t even bother with it.

But I am not a complete film snob. I like a good mainstream film myself. As long as it is actually “good”, which most are not.

Sin City is a pretty cool film, somewhat of an experiment, but a fairly successful one. As I understand, most, if not all of the film was shot on green screen (didn’t it used to be blue?) and all of the backgrounds and effects are digitally rendered. Shot largely in black and white, which is a financial gamble these days (some people won’t watch a black-and-white film), it has an interesting look. There is some claustrophobic aspects to the shots, all on a soundstage, lacking the feel and openness of location shooting. But it works, as this world is a completely different one from our own.

It’s a fantasy land where larger cultural development stopped at Film Noirbut the brutality and physical prowess of the protagonists and antagonists is hepped up on steroids. It’s the world well-adapted from the comic book, of which I have indeed read some. Frank Miller is even given co-director status by Robert Rodriguez, to inflect his vision more consistantly through the adaptation.

Rodriguez is a semi-interesting director. He’s got verve and largely approaches fun projects. His low cost at any cost budgeting usually shows itself in his increasingly widespread film releases. He writes, directs, composes scores, edits, probably holds the microphone. But his stuff always comes off as fun but shallow. It’s a confection, that at best might be stylish and entertaining, but at worst is just hollow junk. Luckily, this is among his best. But I am willing to bet that The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005) is on the other end of his spectrum.

Vive Rodriguez, nonetheless!

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