Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Rated R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Not without its flaws (mostly surrounding some extremely dated noir pacing) “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” at the very least is better than people are giving it credit for and if you ask me, better than its predecessor; a film which I remembered solely because of its visuals.
The heavily green screened, cartoonish black and white visuals with splatterings of red, are back, as writer/co-director Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez bring pretty much the same 2004 visual sensibility to the table; which will excite many. What this particular film does differently lies within its storylines, all of which surround a damsel/dame in distress.
Nearly 10 years after its predecessor and embracing the film noir vibe now more than ever, Miller writes a script which begins with an unreliable narrator, speaking mostly in voiceover, walking the streets of Sin City on a dark and stormy night. From there we follow 4 intertwining storylines, which sees the return of some notable Sin City characters, as well as the emergence of some sinfully vengeful newcomers. The first story follows Marv (Mickey Rourke) as he wanders the town looking for a fight, all while keeping an eye on Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) a dancer at the local bar. The second story follows Nancy as she plots her revenge on the corrupt Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) the man who indirectly caused the death the Bruce Willis character. The third story follows Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who comes into town looking to beat Senator Roark in a hand of poker (of course his true motives are more mysterious). The last story (the most intriguing of the lot) concerns Dwight (now played by Josh Brolin) a man obsessed with seeing the conniving femme fatale, Eva Green, naked, one last time.
Admittedly I was quite bored with Miller’s initial set up, finding the introductions of each character mostly style and little substance. But then, as the stories began to ingeniously intersect and the central theme of: the damsel in distress turned badass chick, began to emerge (around 45 minutes in) I found that “A Dame to Kill For” had methodically seduced me.
Sure, the script isn’t perfect. More specifically, there are multiple lines of forced poetic dialogue (an aspect common with comic book adaptations) which may garner an unintentional laugh or two. But “A Dame to Kill For” is filled with actors who understand the dark campiness and soap opera-esque tone of it all. Therefore, most of said lines of dialogue won’t serve as the massive distractions they potentially could have been.
During the latter half Miller’s vision truly comes to fruition. With eye-gougingly gruesome violence (in a good way) and storytelling which succeeds in developing a multitude of layered noir characters, I feel confident in saying: this is the first time in Frank Miller’s cinematic career that his plot wasn’t swallowed up by his own striking visuals.
Final Thought: Eva Green’s breasts had nothing to do with my rating, which is a shocking statement since her nakedness is present for the better part of the 102 minute runtime. But seriously, she’s not a very good actress and to be completely honest, she’s not really attractive enough to fulfill these roles as the hypnotizingly gorgeous object of desire. So, I want to end this review with a question: What’s the big fuss over Eva Green?
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