Susan Granger's review of 'Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'
Published 3:43 pm, Friday, September 5, 2014
Back in 2005, director Robert Rodriguez brought Frank Miller's ferociously sexy comic series to the big screen, looking like an ultra-stylized, neo-noir cartoon. And the sequel's just more of the same. It consists of four interwoven stories, set in the titular Sin City.
In the first, Marv (Mickey Rourke) wreaks revenge against some rich, frat boys who are killing homeless people. In the second, Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a cocky young gambler, picks up Marcy (Julia Garner) as a "good luck" charm before he brashly bests ruthless Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) in a poker game. In the third segment, Dwight (Josh Brolin), a surly private detective, succumbs to the seductive charms of duplicitous Ava (Eva Green), who claims she needs his help. And the final episode revolves around Nancy (Jessica Alba), a hard-drinking stripper who has been haunted by the death of her love, John Hartigan (Bruce Willis), focusing her rage on Senator Roark and enlisting the aid of ever-willing Marv.
Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, it's a series of grim, mega-violent vignettes, strung together with loosely connective tissue and self-consciously punctuated with cheesy, hard-boiled dialogue. As the titular "dame," Green is uninhibitedly exhibitionistic, brazenly flaunting her to-die-for figure in several gratuitous nude scenes. The supporting cast includes Stacy Keach, Christopher Lloyd, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Dennis Haysbert, Rosario Dawson, even Lady Gaga. But what's most memorable are the monochromatic cinematography and unusual production values, including make-up, costumes and striking special effects.
Prime Focus World did the CGI. Founded in 1997 in Mumbai, Prime Focus gave India its first high-end scanning, recording and finishing system. When the company over-expanded to Vancouver, London and Los Angeles, its fortunes declined, so it merged with London's Double Negative. Whether PFW survives may depend on how well this picture does, since it bartered for a share of the profits.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is a ham-fisted 4, visually stunning but emotionally lifeless.