Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pulp Fiction, But The Good Kind. Not The Annoying Ex-Video Store Clerk Kind

Sin City
2005, USA
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
35mm

It’s a bit unfair to call this pulp-noir film on speed an adaptation of Frank Miller’s seedy Sin City comic books, in that there is no actual adaptation involved. The comics are translated, panel for panel, word for word, to the big screen, so really its kind of like a comic-book-on-tape, with someone turning the pages for you as you follow along. Normally, this would bother me immensely. I’m usually strongly of the opinion that in order for an adaptation from one medium to another to be justified, some differences from the source material must be included, or else why bother. If I wanted a meticulously exact imitation of the Lord of The Rings, for example, I would just read the book, instead of wasting ten hours of my life paying to see 150 close-up shots of a gold ring in someone’s palm interspersed with some filler full of panty-waist elves. However, in the case of Sin City, I’m not so bothered, maybe because the comic was so uniquely filmic it seemed more like a movie anyway, maybe the world of Sin City is so visually original and striking it was begging for a live action translation, or maybe because the majority of the comic takes place in a strip club. Regardless, the film is entertaining as hell, although sometimes you may feel like that’s exactly where you’re headed if you enjoy watching it. Perhaps the fact that the stories never seemed so horrifically violent in print form is a by-product of the transition to the screen, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this sort of stuff on a big screen that wasn’t affiliated with someone who can give the entire production history of Cannibal Holocaust.

4 Comments:

Blogger Talya said...

Finally! One you liked... I personally enjoyed Sin City quite a lot, and had been waiting for that movie forever along with some friends.

They were more fans of the comic. I haven´t actually read the Frank Miller stories, only peeked at some and being excited by the trailer, but I was fascinated by the concept.

Do you know here, where I live, people started to go *out* of the screening room after some scenes, like, all scandalized?

Oh, look, they there go, the guardians of our puritanism. Um.

I would like to know what exactly makes a person go out of the screening room -these ones, in particular, but all in general-.

I know some movies can be like a slow death, or a brain lobotomy, but as far as I can remember I have always stayed to the end, it is kind of a punishment I guess, for being stupid enough to go watch that.

Oh I see, those who actually leave just don´t have enough masochistic vein...

>:*)

4:23 PM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

You should read the comics. Actually, you don't have to. Just imagine the movie but slightly less silly.

I've never walked out of a movie. Hell, I've never even turned off a movie that I was watching, even if it had Joaquim Phoenix in it, but I've seen it happen before. Sometimes it's understandable, like at The Devil's Rejects and a Russ Meyer triple bill, but sometimes it doesn't make sense, like forty five minutes into the remake of Dark Water. But yet these same people love The Passion of the Christ...

11:18 PM  
Blogger Chuckz said...

I really expected to enjoy this movie. I'd loved the comics, so what wasn't to love? Your review echoed something I'd tried to explain to friends, but never seemed to make sense.

It was exactly the same as the comics . . . but it was worse.

Maybe you bring your own morality to something when you read? Maybe, with comics, I just don't pay enough attention.

But I couldn't like Sin City, despite how wonderful it looked, despite the technical skill it took to actually bring a comic-book to life, despite Rosario Dawson.

It had no heart. It gloried in extreme violence. The plots were welded together and didn't fit. The dialogue was poor, or poorly delivered. And everything served to get to the next part of the movie where someone could kill/die in a sexy manner.

I've seen reviews that have laughed and pointed at people who point out that maybe a culture where a hero has the villain eaten alive by dogs (for instance) may not be totally healthy . . .

Why's that such a crazy thing to wonder?

Maybe what Sin City does best is to help us ask those questions - 'Is this OK? Is what we fill our heads with good for us?' It would be a start if we somehow managed to avoid our knee-jerk, entrenched political/religious/philosophy-of-the week positions when we tried to answer.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Holy shit! Somebody agrees with me about Sin City! Now, all you have to do is agree with my Batman Begins post and we can be bestest friends.

12:00 AM  

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