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Sin City

2005 film based on the dark and violent comic books by writer/artist Frank Miller.

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A Grim and Gritty Modern Noir

  • May 5, 2009

WARNING: This film contains graphic stylized violence including torture, as well as sexuality/nudity, coarse language, and disturbing themes.

Only a sick and twisted mind could conceive of the warped stories that are found in the graphic novel series Sin City. Frank Miller is just such a mind. His morbid fascinations with corrupt authority figures, hypocritical religions, sleazy yet strong-willed women, and violent anti-heroes are thrust into the spotlight in his work. With his comic books and graphic novels, we are given a disturbing glimpse into his worldview. His characters are tainted with cynicism, darkened by madness, haunted by guilt, plagued by lust, and drenched in blood. Naturally his stories have been a commercial success despite their controversial subject matter, so it's no surprise that Hollywood producers, directors, and writers have sought to adapt them into films. This is something Frank Miller has always been reluctant to allow... up until now that is. Filmmakers and friends, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino unite their perverse adolescent minds and together they bring Frank Miller's Sin City to vivid life in a stark and oppressing film, which will leave its viewers desiring a thorough shower in order to wash away the residue of the film's immoral characters (not to mention the combined residue of lustful sweat and vengeful blood).


Basin City, better known to its inhabitants as Sin City, is a shady underworld of crime and corruption. It's a place where crooked cops patrol the streets, where serial killers and sex offenders go free, where the church buries its own sins, and the noblest men are psychotic vigilantes. In this dog-eat-dog environment, only the strong survive and the pressures and strain of survival fracture the human psyche. No one is innocent, no one is pure and even Sin City's most charismatic denizens are scum. In this world diversion takes the form of strip bars and brothels, evil hides behind the mask of propriety, and revenge and redemption are the same.
The film is divided into three stories. They are:

1. Detective Hartigan has been tracking down a powerful senator's son, who kidnaps, rapes, and murders young girls. Hartigan is betrayed by another cop, his partner in fact, who is under the pay of the senator. Hartigan takes the fall for the senator's son only to protect one of the intended victims. Years later he is let out of jail and tries to save that same girl from the senator's wrath, but she has become a stripper and fallen in love with Hartigan, the man who once saved her. Soon Hartigan realizes that he was part of a plan to bring her out into the open where the senator's son can carry out his wicked desires.
Bruce Willias as Detective Hartigan

2. Dwight is an enigmatic criminal with a soft spot for damsels in distress. When his new girlfriend is beaten up by her abusive ex, Dwight plans to teach him a lesson. Dwight chases him into the red light district where a band of vigilante prostitutes kills him, only to discover that he was a cop with a destructive ego. Now Dwight and the prostitutes must fend off corrupt officials and the mob in order to keep their territory to themselves.
Rosario Dawson as Gail and Clive Owen as Dwight
3. Meanwhile Marv, a deformed schizophrenic brute, seeks bloody retribution after the woman he slept with is killed and he's framed for the murder. In his attempt to solve the mystery of her death and avenge her, he discovers a plot that leads to one of the city's most powerful families, corruption within the government, police force, and the church. He pulls off his brutal revenge but he ultimately pays the price in the end.
Carla Gugino as Lucille and Mickey Rourke as Marv
These three tales interlock like pieces to a sinister puzzle, each piece bringing the audience closer to the story's completion, showing us the seedy underbelly of Basin City from multiple perspectives.


Much like Pulp Fiction in its fragmented narrative, Sin City unfolds out of chronological order, which is perhaps the film's greatest flaw. However the film is boosted by the dramatic visual style of Miller, Rodriguez, and Tarantino who imbue it with the atmosphere of a 1940s noir film and the savage violence of 1970s action cinema. Most of the movie was shot against a green screen and then CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) artists created the surrounding environments. This made it possible for the filmmakers to replicate Frank Miller's graphic style; the high contrast black and white metropolis, the inverted shadows cast upon brick walls, the saturated red of blood splatters, and the golden yellow of a vixen's hair.

The morally ambivalent characters are brought to life by a talented ensemble cast including Jessica Alba, Devon Aoki, Alexis Bledel, Rosario Dawson, Benicio del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Carla Gugino, Josh Hartnett, Rutger Hauer, Jaime King, Michael Madsen, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Marley Shelton, Nick Stahl, Bruce Willis, and Elijah Wood.
Sin City poster

The film won't appeal to everyone. It's gratuitous depictions of violence and sex are proof of that. However, if taken with a grain of salt, Sin City is an entertainingly over-the-top exploitation masterpiece that faithfully recreates Frank Miller's imaginative graphic novels.

Theatrical Poster Detective Hartigan My Avenging Angel Marv and Lucille Nancy Dancy That Yellow Bastard

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June 02, 2010
Loved this film man, 5 stars from me but that is just me. Great review.
June 03, 2010
Had they handled the narrative differently, I probably would have given it a higher rating.
May 27, 2009
This is definitely one of those films that you have to see more than once or maybe it's just that I didn't get it the first time around! Definitely have to add this one to the que for another look- thanks for reminding me and for your great review!
May 11, 2009
ok, I guess I can forgive you for not giving this an easy 5 star rating...LOL
May 12, 2009
It feels so good to be forgiven. I was really worried there that I was going to hell, but then out of the goodness of your heart you gave me your pardon. Whew, what a relief. :)
May 16, 2009
You are a sinner in the hands of an angry God. How dare you not give this film 5 stars? You brute!! LOL What spectre has possessed thy tongue? But a nice review nonetheless & I enjoyed it naturally. Thumbs raised sky high!
May 16, 2009
Well, as Trashie points out below this is only my review of the theatrical cut. Perhaps the "Recut, Extended, Unrated Edition" will earn my highest recommendation, but like I said, I felt that the film's chronology was too similiar to "Pulp Fiction" and minimalized the visceral intensity of the film. If I could rate each story within the film separately that too would change my rating.
May 19, 2009
well, the recut edition actually separates the stories in a linear fashion. There were very minor added scenes--unless I didn't notice them. It is one of my most prized dvds though. Cool stuff and features.
May 20, 2009
I was told we get to see a bit more of Devon Aoki as "deadly little" Miho, so for me it would be worth it. I'd love to see a film where she and Gogo from Kill Bill battle it out. MMMmmm. :)
May 06, 2009
Its always a good read though. I'm going to see this one day in its entirity. I've seen all of, not in order and in various sittings--sort of like a QT movie in itself. Thankfully with the reviews and all I think I know what went on.
May 05, 2009
Whoops, I meant to post this review a few months back when I was transferring my Amazon.com reviews to here on Lunch.com, but apparently I forgot. Anyhow, here it is after a bit of a delay. :)
More Sin City (2005 film) reviews
Quick Tip by . June 12, 2012
This is a movie that's had steadily-declining appeal for me.  I loved this film when I first saw it in September of 2005, but as I watched it more and more, I found myself liking it less and less.  Now I've seen it enough to where I really don't see many redeeming factors in it.      So many people have gushed over Rodriguez's "comic book" visual style to match the way Frank Miller's original comics were drawn, but I'm not impressed …
review by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
SO NOT in Las Vegas.
I just rewatched The Spirit not too long ago and for all it's goofy meandering, it's look was clearly borrowed from this movie and Frank Miller a noted comic legend who lately has had more misses then hits in his written works-was a part of BOTH movies.  Taking another look at this film reminded me how odd and frankly great the film was. The plot has a running theme of corruption and sinful people in all three of it's stories.  The first is about a hard headed street fighter …
Quick Tip by . June 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Look, anybody dumb enough to LIKE this thing is simply voting for style over substance. All it has is a unique directorial style which is black and white and regularly flashes color in and out. Once the novelty of the directorial style and comic book-like appearance wear off, all you've got is just another movie about criminals with hearts of gold going on quests of redemption. The only difference is that with the constant color flashing, this one can potentially induce seizures.
Quick Tip by . October 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is a complicated rating. It is a 4 minus 3 rating. The first time through the stylized nature of the film is fantastic, but when I watched it a second time, it un-wowed me, but it's worth the first time through for anyone unless they don't like hard-boiled graphic novels.
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Probably one of the most accurate transitions from comic page to screen.
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2010
Seedy and sleazy comic noir about the bums, scum and filth in Sin City where just about everything can happen and does. Awesome if at times creepy fun.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Love the cinematography for this film, the black and white really does well for the storyline and comic feel.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Three tales of lowdown hitmen, cops, hookers and crazies in a ugly metropolis. Sort of like Pulp Ficition ironically enough with more flash, less pop culture and more monologing. Not bad but definitely not for all tastes.
Quick Tip by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Amazing movie that has been in my top 10 fav movies for 5 years now. the plot, script, cinematography and style are awesome. Just waiting for Sin City 2!!!
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Loved it!
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About this movie


Starring Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Clive Owen, Nick Stahl, Rutger Hauer, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson
Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino
Writer:  Frank Miller

Product Description
Sin city is infested with criminals crooked cops & sexy dames: some searching for vengeance some for redemption and others both. Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 09/01/2006 Starring: Bruce Willis Mickey Rourke Run time: 126 minutes Rating: R Director: Frank Miller
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