Sin City, the movie, is an incredibly faithful translation to screen of Sin City, the comic.
See, I’ve never read Sin City, and I probably invalidate my entire review of the movie (assuming anyone cares about my review) by admitting this, since the reason I’ve never read the books is pretty damning: I don’t like Frank Miller’s schtick. I don’t like the tough-as-nails, grim-n-gritty, man’s men and man’s women deal. I like my comics writers to have even a slight, passing interest in subtlety, and Frank Miller has no interest. Subtlety is not his, and especially Sin City’s, thing. Which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not to my particular taste. Nothing about Sin City has ever interested me, so I never picked it up.
So why’d I go see the movie? Honestly, I don’t know. I was certainly intrigued by the visuals, and I guess I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, but really, I guess I should have known better.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike the movie. It was fine. It didn’t kick my ass, it didn’t bowl me over. I went in biased in the opposite direction from most geeks seeing the film: not only had I not loved the books, I hadn’t had any interest in them.
The word that I think best describes the movie is relentless. It never lets up. In any way. The staccato, deadpan, noir dialogue starts off at parody and just never lets up, to the point where I found myself laughing at lines of dialogue and not knowing if I was laughing with them or at them. There were moments when I could see Miller saying, “I’ve no idea what to do with this guy to make him over the top, so when in doubt, add a swastika.” There are several stories packed into the movie, and at least one too many.
I compare it with Pulp Fiction, a movie which similarly featured the intertwining stories of a bunch of reprehensible people. Except in that movie for me, unlike Sin City, I actually found myself wanting to know what happened to the characters beyond just finishing out the necessities of the plot.
I’m pretty much by myself on this one, but again, I fully admit that there’s really no reason I should have gone to it. It was not meant for me. Those who enjoy the books, and a lot of people who are unfamiliar with the books seem to have liked it, so that should carry far more weight. I guess maybe I was kind of hoping that I would really like it, and would see the appeal and want to then read the books, but all it kind of did for me was confirm that I was right in thinking I wouldn’t really enjoy them.
(Oh, I forgot to mention. Yes, it was raining today when we went (well, drizzling just a little), but I don’t think that completely accounts for all the trenchcoats in the audience…)