Sin City (2005) Review

Verdict: Creative

Engaging cinematography, great acting and interesting colour.


The film has multiple story-lines that seem disconnected from each other but that somehow or another tie in together. In a city where Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) controls everything and everyone, crime flows freely. It is then up to the outlaws to serve justice as they see fit. Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saves Nancy (Mackenzie Vega-Jessica Alba plays grown up Nancy) from being raped by paedophile Roark Jr. (Nick Stahl) who is the nephew of Senator Roark. Thus, instead of being praised, Hartigan is framed for the child’s kidnapping. In another story, Dwight (Clive Owen) gets mixed up in murder mess with the ‘girls’- a.k.a prostitutes, consisting of Gail (Rosario Dawson), Becky (Alexis Bledel) and Miho (Devon Aoki) among others. Mickey Rourke is also in this as Marv who vows to get revenge for Goldie (Jaime King) and Lucille (Carla Guigno) by tracking down psychopath Kevin (Elijah Wood). Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (guest director).

There are a lot more well-known actors and actresses who play a part in this like Josh Hartnett, Brittany Murphy and Benicio Del Toro. I watched the extended cut of the film, so am not really sure how the film released for audiences differed. I was quite surprised to see credits role after every segment, as it made it feel like the stories were distinct from one another which was not the case. [OK, the extended cut was not in chronological order of the original released film, and the credits for each was not in the general one]

The use of colour in this is very interesting and while it does resemble the feel of a comic book sometimes, it also feels very noir- I guess you could call it neo noir. This made the aesthetics of the film quite attractive as it was creative and different from other films. The black and white contrasts is more than just black and white, it’s an intense black and white. This adds to the noir and expressionistic atmosphere of the film which reflects the dark narrative.

Uses of other colour (like red, green, blue) is very vibrant  and does not seem to have narrative purpose. In most instances, there is only one part in the scene that is of colour (like a dress, or the eyes) which instantly catches the attention of the audience.  However, it seems to be randomized, like the creators of the film wanted to experiment with colour and added some whenever they felt like it. The colours are very saturated and intense too, further capturing our attention.

The story is quite gruesome, and while I went into the film with no knowledge about what it’s about, the settings help foreshadow the goriness. There is so much violence in this that ‘Sin City’ truly lives up to its name. I could have used without all that gore, but it was somewhat bearable to watch. Only a few instances did I have to look away from disgust. Also because it gives off the feel of a comic book (in that what is happening is fiction), that helps to digest some of the images shown.

Apart from the creative use of colour, the editing, soundtrack and mise-en-scene (or digital intermediate) helped in creating the world of Sin City. Everything complemented each other well and just hearing the soundtrack alone reminds me of a video game. The editing and digital manipulations emphasized further the image of a comic book with non-realistic animation/movements and obvious digital backdrops. The cinematography does a fantastic job in keeping the audience engaged with its dynamic movements. As a whole, the film gives a visually stunning performance with aesthetic appeal.

Additionally, all the actors and actresses did their parts well. I have a problem with the gender roles in this but will say nothing more on that matter. The voice of each different protagonist in each mini short (in the extended cut) is very similar to each other. The tone that is used establishes an alpha male in a sort of identity crisis, but who always plays the hero saving the damsel in distress. I like that the tone is consistent throughout as it gives the sense of continuity, but on the other hand, these different characters tend to blend into one another so that it could be one person/character. .

Overall an intriguing film that provides a new and creative look to film.

To sum-up:
PROS: Settings, acting, colour, cinematography
CONS: Gender roles, violence

I give this an 8/10.

Have you seen Sin City? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!


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