The music for "Sin City" had grabbed attention as soon as the trailer first showed. The instrumental version of The Servant's "Cells" made the film all the more appealing; it also made the song a favorite among music downloaders. No one, myself included, even put a thought into what kind of music the actual movie might have. I guess we figured it was going to be your traditional soundtrack.
No way, Jose. "Sin City" is anything but your traditional soundtrack. The first third of the soundtrack features music by Graeme Revell; John Debney owns the second third; riter/director/editor/cinematographer Robert Rodriguez contributes the final third of the soundtrack.
The soundtrack begins with the "Sin City" theme, written by Robert Rodriguez. It's a cool, slick song enhanced by the quiet percussion and hoarse sax. Robert Rodriguez has the next song as well, "One Hour to Go", before Graeme Revell takes over. Revell's score, which covers Marv's tale (played in the film by Mickey Rourke), is my personal favorite. It's jazzy, strong, and it fits Marv like the jackets that the character loves so much to wear. The most refreshing thing about Revell's music is his wide range of instruments. "Marv" is possibly the best of the Revell-composed music - it's slick, heavy, strong, blasting, a very cool piece. Some people may remember this from the trailer.
Next up in the film is Dwight's (Clive Owen) tale, scored by John Debney. Debney's music is more old-fashioned, vaguely reminescent of the Bogart-era of film noir scores. While Debney's music still includes the screeching sax, he goes much more for a light, fast-paced jazz soundtrack. A perfect example of this is "Jackie Boy's Head".
The final third of the soundtrack is music by Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez - who also scored his film "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" - gives us just what you'd expect, a traditional soundtrack that works, but never really draws you in. This is probably the darkest section of the soundtrack. Rodriguez also contributes the terrific closing theme - aptly-titled "Sin City End Titles".
Along with the Revell/Debney/Rodriguez music, we also get "Absurd", a techno piece by Fluke, which has a brief appearance in a bar, and "Sensemaya" by the Silvestre Revueltas. Rodriguez says that "Sensemaya" was the inspiration for much of the film's music.
All in all, "Sin City" is one of the very best films of all-time, and the soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks of the decade. The very different styles of each of the composers make this an extremely interesting album to listen to.
Walk down the right back alley in "Sin City", and you can find anything.
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About the reviewer
Tom Benton (TomBenton)
Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.
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Set in dark, slickened streets and populated by a stellar ensemble cast, this adaptation of Frank Miller's hard-edged, film noir inspired graphic novels plays like comic-book-come-to-lifenot surprising, as Miller is credited as Robert Rodriguez's co-director (with a bit of help from Quentin Tarantino). The soundtrack to this bleak, compelling exercise in pure noir stylism is provided mostly by director Rodriguez, with an occasional assist from past collaborators John Debney (Spy Kidsand itssequel) and Graeme Revell (From Dusk Til Dawn). While their largely synth-driven cues tend naturally towards brooding atmospheric soundscapes, their tense electro-rhythms are seasoned with bracing doses of sinewy, sensual sax and dotted with the occasional bongo flourish, details that musically evoke both a shadowy humanity and the film's genre-savvy roots. Also featuring disparate, yet wholly integrated contributions from techno-house savants Fluke (the hypnotic"Absurd") and 20th century Mexican classicistSilvestre Revueltas, it's the sinister flipside to the future-jazz sheen of Vangelis' classicBlade Runner.--Jerry McCulley