Wednesday 26th January 2022

Sin City (18)
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

This film is based on the comic of the same name by Frank Miller, which is one of the bravest and most unusual comic books you could encounter. Disillusioned with Hollywood and the comic industry in the early 1990's, Frank Miller decided to draw a new type of graphic novel (at this level they can hardly be called comics) that he wanted to read and which he thought no one else did. Almost entirely drawn in black and white (no colour or shades of grey) and featuring sleazy characters, classic cars, lots of sex and violence and truly drawn in a film noir style, it went on to be a huge success.

From printed panel to film
From printed panel to film

The characters he drew are all bad guys, even the heroes. The "good" guys are righteous people who, even when trying to do the right thing, find themselves on the wrong side of the law. These tragic heroes are inevitably up against some of the foulest villains you will ever meet, and it's all set against a James Ellroy-esque backdrop of booze, broads and bullets.

So if a graphic novel like that sounds like your cup of tea, then you simply must see this film. I don't think I have ever encountered a more faithful adaptation, and with the exception of the already planned sequels to this film, I don't think I ever will. Director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado), who is renowned for shunning the normal way of doing things, has pulled an absolute blinder here. He shot a three-minute version of one of the Sin City short stories against a green screen, edited it in his own studio, and used it to persuade Frank Miller to let him make this film and co-direct it.

They hired a first-rate cast and shot the entire film against a green screen, with hardly any props. They didn't script or storyboard the film, instead taking the shots and dialogue right out of the original graphic novels. Rodriguez then digitally put all the backgrounds and props in, taking care to give the whole film a chilling black and white style with slightly unreal, almost cartoon-like elements.

This whole approach is the total opposite to the way a film is normally made, meaning this film not only sets a precedent for faithfulness, but is a real breath of fresh air to watch. As if I need to sell it further, I can tell you that the cast includes Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood and Mickey Rourke, who is nothing short of brilliant. Quentin Tarantino appears too, as well as guest directing a memorable scene in the film.

So, in short, if this ultra-violent, dark, film noir world appeals to you, then you have to see this film. I have been touting this one as my film of the year for months, and now that I have finally seen it, I feel vindicated.

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Length: 124 minutes
Certificate: 18
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 3rd June 2005

Top Five Rating: 100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0% (100.0%)
User Rating: 81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5%81.5% (81.5%)

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