Review: Sin City (2005)

Sin City

Sin City



Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino


Frank Miller (Graphic Novel: Frank Miller)


124 min.


Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Nick Stahl, Powers Boothe, Rutger Hauer, Elijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Jaime King, Devon Aoki, Brittany Murphy, Michael Clarke Duncan, Carla Gugino, Alexis Bledel, Josh Hartnett, Marley Shelton, Michael Madsen

MPAA Rating

R (For sustained strong stylized violence, nudity and sexual content including dialogue)

Buy/Rent Movie



Source Material


A dark night in a dark city. There is no day, just night. It’s Sin City and when there is no light, there is plenty of evil.

The film tells three separate, distinct and loosely linked stories. The book-end of the film features hardened cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) whose heart is about to fail and his enemies want him out of the picture. He attempts to rescue a young girl from a politician’s deranged son and finds himself betrayed.

The second story is that of a burly but disfigured goon named Marv (Mickey Rourke) whose red light encounter ends in murder and he’s accused of the crime. He then attempts to find the culprit of the act and bring him to justice. Hard justice.

The third tells of Dwight (Clive Owen) who has come with a new face and a new attitude to the city. There, he falls for a pole dancer at a night club (Jessica Alba) and attempts to rescue a neighborhood of prostitutes from the end of an alliance with the police.

Frank Miller’s adaptation of his graphic novel about the tragic anti-heroes of a dark metropolis is more about style than it is about substance. That’s what Sin City ‘s all about. Miller co-directed the film with Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi , Once Upon a Time in Mexico ), who already has a penchant for stylistic violence. This film is shot entirely in black-and-white and, like its comic book film predecessor Dick Tracy , uses vivid colors to illustrate its literary origins. The cinematography is crisp, bringing shadows to life long before a villain pops out of them.

There are three types of performances in Sin City. There are the satisfactory, the passable and the women. The majority of the women of this film, Alba (Dark Angel , Honey ), Brittany Murphy (Riding in Cars with Boys , Uptown Girls ) and Alexis Bledel (The Gilmore Girls ), are used for their looks not for their talent. This is most obvious with the scenes featuring Murphy who couldn’t help failing an acting class without having a teacher’s aide. The sole holdout of this last group is Rosario Dawson (He Got Game , Shattered Glass ) as the hooker colony’s leader Gail. She falls into the satisfactory category with the rough hewn Rourke (Diner , White Orchid ) and Willis (Die Hard , Pulp Fiction ). The passable category fits all of the other performers in the film. But again, it’s style over substance.

The biggest problem with Sin City isn’t even the acting. It’s the story. What we see in this film is a loose collection of three different tales. They have little to do with one another, except for scenes set in the same bar and those at the politician’s farm.

Sin City is a fanboy movie. It’s made for comic book fans and other audiences who enjoy mindless, violent entertainment. Like many of the women in the film, it’s a beautiful film to look at on the outside but lacking in talent on the inside.

Review Written

June 4, 2005

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