Plot: What’s it about?
When Robert Rodriguez sets his mind to something, odds are that it will happen. Rodriguez is sometimes known as Quentin Tarantino’s partner in crime, working with him on more than one occasion (Desperado and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn come to mind). One thing that has really impressed me about Mr. Rodriguez is his diversity in the movies he chooses to direct and his adoption of the High Definition format for making movies. Quite simply, he shoots what footage he needs and then he and the rest of his “Troublemaker Studios” lackeys go to work and make the movie in his basement (there’s a great featurette on this on the Once Upon a Time in Mexico DVD). It’s no secret that Sin City has been trying to come to the big screen for some time now and it was finally Rodriguez that landed the deal and brought his own style to the film, yet he managed to retain the darkness of the story that was so faithful to Frank Miller’s outstanding graphic novels. As a comic book reader (as a kid), I was always partial to the more mainstream titles like X-Men and Spider-Man – now it seems that every other movie is based on a comic book hero of sorts. I found myself, though, looking forward to seeing “Sin City”. Here’s what I found.
The movie is essentially three stories in one, all of them loosely interwoven with a few overlapping characters. “Sin City”, “The Big Fat Kill” and “That Yellow Bastard” are the three stories that are covered here. In the first installment we meet Marv (Mickey Rourke), a large and brooding man who has the love of his life, Goldie (Jamie King), murdered while she’s asleep. The story is one of revenge and nothing more, but we get inside Marv’s head and experience the actions with him ? even ultimately taking his side. Next up is the story of a ex-photographer (Clive Owen) who mistakenly kills a cop and scrambles to cover it up. Amazing that the power in this installment was held by prostitutes who had an unmentioned thing going with the police in Sin City. This was the slowest of the three segments and probably the one that could benefit from a bit more character development. Lastly we meet Hartigan (Bruce Willis), imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. He corresponds with a Nancy (who later grows up to become the character played by Jessica Alba), someone who he grows to have deep feelings for.
Ok, on the surface, that’s it. The thing about Sin City is that there’s so much below the surface and a repeated viewing isn’t only recommended, it’s almost required. I can see a “Director’s Cut” of this coming our way in the future (more on that later), and this could certainly benefit from it. The movie already has a cult following and is ranked in the Internet Movie Database’s Top 100 movies of all-time. Is it worthy? Well, time usually does the best job of telling that tale. I will say that it’s refreshing to see something like this that is pushing the limits of filmmaking and not all movies based off comic books have to be corny and emotionless. Sin City contains a great cast of pretty high-profile actors, though not all are immediately recognizable. What do we need? A longer cut of this movie and I’m sure a sequel is in the works. Fans of Rodriguez will be right at home here for this very accurate adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novels.
Video: How’s it look?
The film is certainly visual and being in Black and White (with several instances of color) offers a feast for the eyes. Details are strong throughout. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t appreciate the look of this film alone, even if you didn’t care for the film itself. It’s just a joy to look at. The film has a very noirish look to it and the transfer does justice. We can see stray hairs, scars here and there and even stubble. This is simply a repackaging of an already-released disc (theatrical cut only) so I’m sure most fans already know what an excellent transfer this is. If you don’t then it’s time you pick up a copy. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track is also great. The various gunshots, doors being smashed in and punches (among various other things) sound fine. Vocals are clean and strong and there’s a nice bass throughout. The rear channels get plenty of use and there’s a strong, consistent kick. Police sirens can be heard during a few scenes in the background as well as some breezy wind and other city noises. This track satisfies.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This steel-book packaging is exclusive to Best Buy and features a scantily clad Jessica Alba on the front (always a pretty sight). There’s rear art featuring several of the characters as well as inner art with Micky Rourke on the left side and the late Brittany Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan on the other. There’s a digital copy code as well. It’s worth noting that this is a single disc release featuring only the theatrical cut of the film. If you care about extras and having the alternate cut then you might want to stick with that version.
- Commentary tracks – We get two tracks here, one with the director and Frank Miller and the other with Robert Rodriguez with Quentin Tarantino. Both tracks give you more than your share of information and are probably both worth listening to.
- Audio Only track – This features an audience reaction from Austin, TX. I don’t see how much enjoyment you can get from listening to some random audience reacting to a movie, but that’s just me.
- Cine-Explore – This is a picture-in-picture commentary track with various behind the scenes snippets.
- Digital Copy