Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is beautiful and ugly—at the same time. The screen is filled with memorable images demonstrating the stark contrast between darkness and light. It’s a movie in basic black and white with color added sparingly to highlight key elements. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is, stylistically, gorgeous to look at.
The ugly part comes from the bad behavior of the film’s characters. Gunplay, along with sword and arrow play, result in generous splattering of blood and moans of anguish. Though much of the damage to various bodies is presented with over-the-top, comic book unrealism, there’s enough grisly stuff here to elicit the occasional cringe.
The film’s voiceover narrations in classic film noir fashion are perfect. Dwight (Josh Brolin), Marv (Mickey Rourke) and Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) deliver monologues that advance the film’s plot and provide a window into their private thoughts.
Of the film’s stories, the most compelling is that of Dwight and the unhappily married Ava (Eva Green). He knows that she’s manipulative and will lead to trouble, be he can’t resist her charms. Green is model-thin but busty and unclothed for a great portion of her time onscreen. She is the dame to kill for. My favorite shot in the film is her dive into a swimming pool with the pool surface mirroring her graceful form.
After Dwight is roughed up, he visits the hookers in Sin City’s sleaze strip called Old Town. Led by Gail (Rosario Dawson), they heal his serious wounds. With help from the hookers, including the ninja-like Miho (Jamie Chung), and the fierce and enormous Marv, he goes back to exact his revenge.
Two other stories involve the evil Senator Roark (Powers Booth). He and his henchmen bring terror and pain to Johnny following Johnny’s big win at the poker table. And stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) looks to avenge Roark’s killing of her guy Hartigan (Bruce Willis).
As with 2005’s Sin City, the new SC:ADTKF is more about look and characters than about the narrative. When good and evil intersect, there’s conflict. And there’s plenty of conflict to go around.
Other cast members worth mentioning are Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Lloyd, Stacy Keach and Ray Liotta. (And the lineup of classic cars is very cool.)
Co-directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have created one of my favorites of 2014. For fans of the film noir genre and the comic/graphic novel print format, as well as for those who appreciate the visual art of cinema, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is one to see and enjoy!