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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For falters with its script

Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For falters with its script

Last updated on: September 05, 2014 18:33 IST

Jessica Alba in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForSin City 2 doesn't quite illicit the same response as the film film, says Paloma Sharma.

Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller co-directed sequel to Sin City has come so late that we've almost already forgotten what the first film was like.

Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For have been released almost a decade apart, and while we welcome the return of Miller's unique art direction, the sequel doesn't quite illicit the same response as the first one.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is made of four different stories, two of which were written exclusively for the film, by Miller.

All four stories are loosely connected through common characters and they all usually end up meeting (the characters as well as the sub plots) at the shady town's favourite strip club/dance bar/excuse to watch Jessica Alba twerking -- a saloon called Kadie's.

Despite this, it is interesting to watch how one character might play Robin in another subplot but be the Batman of his own story arc.

The first features Marv (Mickey Rourke), who wakes up in the aftermath of an automobile accident involving a few young men, a police car and himself.

Only, he just cannot remember how he got into it.

The second one sees Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt) set foot in Sin City with confidence (read: smugness) that only befits someone either extremely wise or extremely foolish.

A young, self-assured gambler, Johnny challenges Senator Roarke (Powers Booth), the man who effectively owns the town, to a game of cards and has the audacity to win. However, he doesn't quite realise the cost of his victory.

The third and most elaborate one sees Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) receiving a call from the love of his life (whom he has no problem using his backhand on) -- Ava Lord (Eva Green) -- who left him for a richer man.

Ava begs him to come see her and reveals that she is being abused by her billionaire husband but when Dwight breaks into the Lords' estate to save Ava, he finds that the situation isn't all that it seems to be.

The fourth and last story features a vengeful Nancy (Jessica Alba) who, after the events from Sin City's That Yellow Bastard, is hell-bent on killing Senator Roarke.

Hartigan (Bruce Willis') spirit tries to stop her from getting involved in the unending cycle of revenge and though she has the opportunity to pull the trigger on Roarke more than once, perhaps she doesn't do it due to Hartigan's ghostly influence.

Despite this, even Hartigan remarks that she is going to shoot him one of these days. It is just a matter of time.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is clearly far superior in its visuals than its contemporaries and the 3D only magnifies the impact of the black and white imagery, with certain objects being highlighted by using splashes of colour.

Nevertheless, no amount of green screen wizardry can compensate for an actual script.

Perhaps Sin City: A Dame to Kill For would have been a more interesting story had it been serialised because watching it in one go, on the big screen can be a bit tiring.

Either you know what is going to happen with a particular story arc or, after a certain point of time, you just find yourself more interested in looking down at your watch than up at the screen.

For a film that features so much violence, white coloured blood (!?), and sex, one would think that they'd manage to make it far more thrilling.

It has no qualms showing brutal beheadings, people being burned alive and crippled.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For begins to feel like four different films being played one after another as the script becomes falteringly predictable but it finds its saving grace in the actors it features, who don't have much to work with but manage to employ black humour and plain old misery to their benefit.

It is interesting to note that even in 2014, when a writer (in this case, Frank Miller), creates an alternative universe, the only black man is a superstitious servant with superhuman strength.

However, it would be unfair to say that people of colour are missing from the film because a good number of the prostitutes in the film are women of colour.

Furthermore, said prostitutes walk around with machine guns and katanas (the token Asian girl uses those, yes) and yet, they have needed Dwight to rescue them on more than one occasion.

Unless you are a student of animation or art direction, or if you're doing your PhD thesis on representation of minorities in cinema, or if you're a hormone-crazed teenage boy, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a great film for you.

Devoid of a script and background music worth paying attention to, and with no ability to emotionally engage the viewer, the visual charm of the film fades sooner than a mayfly's youth.

While it isn't really a great watch, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For could be a good way to kill some time.

Rediff Rating: 

Paloma Sharma in Mumbai