It’s taken nine years to summon up the courage to crawl back to Basin ‘Sin’ City, and the old town hasn’t changed much in the intervening years. Oh, sure, Clive Owen looks a lot like Josh Brolin now and I’m not sure Miho is the same (Jamie Chung replacing Devon Aoki) but the city still stinks of fear and corruption, enduring the ruthless and sleazy domination of Senator Roark.
When the first “Sin City” film came out, it was rightly lauded for its breathtakingly stark palette, literally bringing the hyper-stylised noir vision of the original graphic novels to life on the screen. In the intervening years, the tricks and techniques have been repeated and enhanced, notably by Zack Snyder, and robbed of its visual uniqueness, what does another trip to this sordid little borough have to offer?
The answer is: a lot. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have lost none of their visceral cinematic vision or gritty narrative drive in the intervening years. The stylised visuals are even better in 3D without ever having to resort to the gimmicky ‘things flying at the screen’ approach and while it picks up important plot lines from the previous film, it’s easy enough for a novice to dive straight in and get a sense of how the land lies in Sin City.
The cast make the most of their hard boiled roles, and none end up with egg on their faces. Jessica Alba makes a welcome return as an embittered and broken Nancy while Mickey Roarke’s near-invulnerable man mountain Marv anchors all the intertwining stories, which all centre around Powers Boothe’s vicious and cruel Senator Roark. The newcomers, though, are what give this movie its power and while Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon Levitt fit right in, it’s Eva Green who gives the movie its title in a role ripped straight out of a “Dallas” script-writer’s fevered nightmares. Putting the fatal in femme fatale, Green holds almost literally nothing back as the scheming and manipulative Ava, weaving everyone around her into her web of deceit and double cross. When I first saw Eva Green in “Casino Royale”, I wasn’t that impressed but I have to say the more I’ve seen of her, the more I’ve liked her and quite frankly, I don’t think there’s much more of her for me to see after her revealing role in this. The violence and gore are the same as the first film, but there’s a great deal more nudity in this instalment than I recall in its predecessor. I doubt there were many line items in the production budget for Eva Green’s wardrobe, that’s for sure.
This graphic novel adaptation loses none of its graphic qualities as it moves medium. It’s as tough, misogynistic and bleak as the noir thrillers it homages but with a decidedly modern, graphic approach to violence, nudity and sex.
“Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” is a stylish, classy and fiercely entertaining 100 minutes. For some reason, Robert Rodriguez is having a tough time at the box office just now, with his last few films suffering disappointing openings but the box office is the ficklest of mistresses, and this is one you shouldn’t let slip past you onto DVD. Sin City’s a big town, and it belongs on a big screen.