Saturday, June 18, 2005

City Limits

It's been the hottest day of the year so far, so with typical perversity Dead Kenny avoided the mad dogs and Englishmen out in the mid-day sun and went to the cinema to see Sin City instead. This, of course, is the adaptation of the highly-regarded comic books by Frank Miller co-directed by Robert (Desperado) Rodriguez and the graphic novelist himself, with a little bit of help from Quentin Tarantino. The film is effectively three stories presented in an interlocking portmanteau style, reminiscent in structure to Tarantino's own masterpiece Pulp Fiction. Sin City also shares with that film a steady stream of stylised violence and an idiosyncratic cast (80s icons like Mickey Rourke, Powers Boothe and Rutger Hauer rubbing shoulders and other body parts with underdressed uberbabes du jour Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Carla Gugino) although lacks the heart and dialogue that raised the earlier film to classic status.

Many of the scenes duplicate the framing and the lighting of the comic book panels in stunning detail, but while the film is always entertaining and fast-paced, you're left wondering whether a little more licence with the dialogue and characterisation might have added some depth and humanity to a two-hour film. In particular, the female characters are presented as little more than stunning eye-candy and/or kick-ass action heroines, all seemingly united by a bizarre sexual/romantic interest in middle-aged men. But if the film represents a middle-aged man trying to appeal to the spirit of his inner adolescent but ultimately revealing the concerns of a middle-aged man, then this is perhaps what they mean when they say this is the most faithful comicbook adaptation of all time.


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