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Henry Thornton - Lifestyle: A discussion of economic, social and political issues Sin City Date 18/06/2005
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Gotham City for grown ups
By Shikishi Email / Print

Well, maybe not for grown-ups but Sin City definitely comes with an AO rating …
Shikishi gives us an advance peek at Frank Miller’s Sin City.

Sin City

Directors: Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk till Dawn, Desperado) and Frank Miller

Think back to if you felt disturbed the first time you saw Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Now take Pulp Fiction's production value up a notch or two and flatten-out the characters even more. Think relentless carnage, butchering bad guys and bondage for breakfast.
This isn’t an adaptation of a comic book, it’s like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

So, do you like dark chocolate? Do you take your coffee black and strong? Love the city at night? Hairs on the back of your neck stand up when a jazz saxophone gets raw? If your tastes run to things darkly sensual and noir then Sin City's your trick. Roger Ebert's quote is absolutely on the money.

Transposing comics, or graphic novels if you prefer, to movie format has a somewhat chequered history. Much of the grit, irony and general ‘street-ness’ just does not survive the medium transplant. Sin City is an exceptional film, and not only in this respect. It does not pretend to be a serious narrative with well-developed characters – this would be untrue to its graphic origins. What it captures is the elusive spirit of Miller’s work. The message is in the tone, the visuals, the caption-like speech bubble dialogue. It's The Big Sleep re-worked for a twenty-first century audience. If you can cope with a city where all the girls have a gun strung in their g-string and all the righteous he-men deliver justice with a lot of (ugh!!! #@splat!!) mess it's a film you'll want to see ...

The city is corrupt to its bone marrow - the police, the mob, the politicians. In this twisted world a sort of bushido honour exists among the street life – fighters, drunks, working girls ...

'Old Town', the red light area is run by the girls. If you thought Tarantino's 'Bride' was mean with a katana, wait until you meet Miho (Devon Aoki). But then, Quentin Tarantino also guest directs in this film, supporting directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. (It's rumoured Tarantino was paid US$1 for his director gig.)

Bruce Willis plays Hartigan, a hard bitten but honest cop in a corrupt force. He will retire soon but just has one last loose end to tidy up. That loose end turns out to be more than he expected. Elsewhere in Sin City Mickey Rourke (no stranger to noir – think Angel Heart) is the ex-boxer and general hardman Marv. He thinks that he has just found love but, as with Hartigan, disappointment looms. Marv doesn’t wear his disappointment lightly … and the result is anything but pretty.

In Old Town, Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances in a seedy bar while Oozi-toting prostitute Gail (Rosario Dawson), has other women's business on her mind.

Also starring Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Rutger Hauer, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, Jaime King, Elijah Wood, Devon Aoki ...


(Did I mention wardrobe opportunities - Shi x)

The 52nd Sydney Film Festival

Over the past 50 years the Sydney Film Festival has screened the work of thousands of film-makers from around the world, marked the beginnings of numerous careers and celebrated many masterpieces from over a century of cinema. From its earliest days, the Festival has promoted the Australian film industry with premiere screenings, forums, and a competition for locally-produced short films.

The 52nd Sydney Film Festival is well on its way and you have till Saturday June 25 to enjoy its eclectic selection.

Possibly Sin City's swinging aunt in film history, we recommend Russ Meyer's cult classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
"The only mainstream hit (among many cult ones) of the great auteur Russ Meyer follows the rise of a girl group through the squalid LA music scene. Co-written by critic Roger Ebert and featuring performances by The Strawberry Alarm Clock - already an anachronism by the time of the film's release in 1970 - it features the finest conversational gambit of any movie party moment. "You're a groovy boy", purrs Edy Williams to one of the hapless male leads."

Sydney Film Festival movie and venue details here

And visit the ever interesting The Art Life this week.


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