Sin City 2
"Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For"
- A Narada Film Review -
“You want more?” Frank Miller asked. So we got more. More of everything. And though it took several years longer than anticipated, we got Sin City 2. The original Sin City was deemed an “Instant Classic” on the day of it’s release – a very dangerous presumption in the world of Cinema. But nine years later, nothing has changed, nothing has come along to change our minds, nothing has come along to knock it off it’s rightful pedestal.
That in mind, the original Sin City did, does, and will in the millennia ahead, meet the criteria. But what about the subject at hand – Sin City 2 ? As we mentioned, Frank Miller, with the genius of Robert Rodrigues at his right hand, and a wealth of pitiless, hardball graphic novels in his left, gave us the “more of everything” we asked for.
But more is not always “more”, particularly when viewer expectations come into the equation. Yes, more cynicism, more hardball, more jaded, sociopathic characters amok in the quintessential gothic Basin City and it’s ghetto, the “Old Town” projects. And more violence. .....Much more.
The original Sin City was seen then, and now, as the catalyst and prime example of “Neo-Noir” cinema. The subject of ‘Film Noir”, always a contentious undertaking, is endlessly debated by armchair ‘feelm’ dilettantes, intellectual poseurs and ‘respected’ critics alike. How to make a whole lotta’ something out of nothing. The rest of us apply Occam’s Razor –and accept French critic Nino Frank’s (1946) assessment - when he first coined the term 'Film Noir'. He used the term to describe certain films of that era that, generally, were typified by stark cinematic production, a harsh realism -often with bleak 'Gothic' backdrops- whose cynical, jaded characters were caught up in edgy, often sinister plots.
If we compare the original with Sin City 2 (and how could we not?) we note differences. Sin City 2, like the original, was a concoction of more than one story, but lacked the depth of the original. Further, Sin City 2 took substantially longer to tie stories together, giving the impression of being somewhat ‘strung out’. It did, however, 'tie it all together' at the film’s conclusion.
And then there was the ‘violence’. Sin City 2’s violence must be considered ‘over the top’ – much of it unrealistic Tarantino-like mayhem that added nothing to the storyline, becoming, occasionally, off-putting .
Cinematographically speaking, Sin City 2 has created a class unto itself. The technique of combining black and white with color and partial color is not new, however Rodrigues has, over the last two Sin City films, elevated this technique to an entirely new level - apart and aside from any ‘content’. Sin City 2 is the master’s stroke of visual excellence, and it is to be all the more appreciated for not straying one iota from the oeuvre of the original Frank Miller graphic novels.
In summation, there is more than one good reason to put Sin City 2 on your "not-to-be-missed" list, not the least of which were 'absolute' performances by Powers Boothe (as Rourke) and Eva Green (as Ava). (And if you did miss it in the theater, buy the BlueRay version). See it in 3D if you can, but it is not necessary – in fact, the 2D version is all the more reminiscent, all the more true to the graphic novels.
4 1/2 stars out of 5.