German postcard by Edgar Medien AG, no. 7.688. Image: Buena Vista / Miramax. Jessica Alba in Sin City (Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino (special guest director), Robert Rodriguez, 2005). Caption: I wanna strip for you baby!
Sin City (2005), also known as Frank Miller’s Sin City, is an American Neo-Noir film produced and directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, with Quentin Tarantino as "special guest director". The live-action film is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel series of the same name that won the Eisner Award.
Interweaving multiple storylines from the series’ history,Sin City (2005) paints the picture of the ultimate town without pity through the eyes of its roughest characters. Much of this violent Neo-Noir is based on the first, third, and fourth books in creator Miller’s original comic series. The Hard Goodbye is about ex-convict Marv (Mickey Rourke) who embarks on a rampage in search of his one-time sweetheart’s killer. The Big Fat Kill follows photographer Dwight (Clive Owen), who gets caught in a street war between a group of prostitutes and a group of mercenaries, the police, and the mob. That Yellow Bastard focuses on an aging police officer (Bruce Willis) who protects a young woman (Jessica Alba) from a grotesquely disfigured serial killer. The intro and outro of the film are based on the short story ‘The Customer is Always Right’ which is collected in Booze, Broads & Bullets, the sixth book in the comic series. Three directors received credit for Sin City: Miller, Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino, the last for directing the drive-to-the-pits scene in which Dwight talks with a dead Jack Rafferty (Benicio del Toro). Miller and Rodriguez worked as a team directing the rest of the film.
Sin City (2005) stars an ensemble cast led by Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Elijah Wood, and featuring Alexis Bledel, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, Rutger Hauer, Jaime King, Michael Madsen, Nick Stahl, and Makenzie Vega among others. Several of the scenes were shot before any actor had signed on; as a result, several stand-ins were used before the actual actors were digitally added into the film during post-production. Rodriguez, an aficionado of cinematic technology, has used similar techniques in the past. The film was noted throughout production for Rodriguez’s plan to stay faithful to the source material, unlike most other comic book adaptations. Rodriguez stated that he considered the film to be "less of an adaptation than a translation". As a result, there is no screenwriting in the credits; simply "Based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller".
Sin City (2005) opened to wide critical and commercial success, gathering particular recognition for the film’s unique color processing which rendered most of the film in black and white while retaining or adding color for selected objects. The film was screened at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in competition and won the Technical Grand Prize for the film’s "visual shaping". Jeremy Wheeler at AllMovie: "As far as comic adaptations go, Sin City is an unprecedented book-to-screen translation that’s locked, loaded, and rip-roaring ready to introduce movie audiences to the mad genius that is Frank Miller. " Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars, describing it as "a visualization of the pulp noir imagination, uncompromising and extreme. Yes, and brilliant" and "This isn’t an adaptation of a comic book, it’s like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids. It contains characters who occupy stories, but to describe the characters and summarize the stories would be like replacing the weather with a weather map." The New York Times critic Manohla Dargis gave credit for Rodriguez’s "scrupulous care and obvious love for its genre influences", but noted that "it’s a shame the movie is kind of a bore" because the director’s vision seems to prevail on the intensity of reading a graphic novel. Sin City grossed $29.1 million on its opening weekend, defeating fellow opener Beauty Shop by more than twice its opening take. The film saw a sharp decline in its second weekend, dropping over 50%. Ultimately, the film ended its North American run with a gross of $74.1 million against its $40 million negative cost. Overseas, the film grossed $84.6 million, for a worldwide total from theater receipts of $158.7 million. A sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, was released in 2014, also directed by Miller and Rodriguez. It was a critical and financial failure.
Sources: Roger Ebert, Jeremy Wheeler (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.
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