(detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)
Sin City is a 2005 neo-noir portmanteau film based on the graphic novels of the same name, directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodríguez.
Rodriguez also gave a directing credit to Frank Miller, creator of the Sin City comics on which the film is based. Miller did not literally direct the film, but his visual style was so influential that Rodriguez felt Miller deserved credit for the film's final appearance. When the Director's Guild of America refused to recognize Miller as a bona-fide director, Rodriguez refused to compromise, and resigned from the Guild so that the joint credit could remain. Additionally, Quentin Tarantino is credited as "Special Guest Director" because he directed one scene in the movie.
The movie was released in cinemas across the U.S. on April 1, 2005 by Dimension Films.
Originally, creator Frank Miller did not want to release the movie rights of Sin City because of his bad Hollywood experiences in the early 1990s with the second and third RoboCop movies. However, director Robert Rodríguez shot a "proof of concept" short film of the Sin City story The Customer is Always Right (starring Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton, who gave their services to Rodriguez as a favor); Miller approved of the footage, and gave the rights to Rodriguez. Rodriguez states on the DVD's "Behind The Scenes" feature that the short film was used to convince the actors he wanted to appear in the film; most of whom were quite impressed. An interview with Bruce Willis on the DVD confirms this:
"I started watching it, and about a minute in I said, 'Hang on a second, hit pause' - I said, 'Whatever else I see on this I just want you to know that I'm in. I want to do this'."
The short film was eventually used as the opening of the finished film.
The movie is primarily based on four Sin City stories:
The movie also includes a short epilogue written exclusively for the movie by Rodriguez and Miller.
Sin City was screened at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in competition. While some felt having an American film based on a violent comic book being screened for competition was inappropriate, the film was well-received at the festival and won Robert Rodriguez the Technical Grand Prize for the film's "visual shaping."
Jessica Alba as Nancy Callahan in a promotional poster for Sin City
The film does not take place in chronological order; it takes place through several different timelines. It opens on a balcony, overlooking the highlights of Basin City, otherwise known as Sin City, a grimy, violent and corrupted city of endless pain and sadness. The Customer (Marley Shelton), a woman in a red dress, steps onto the balcony and is greeted by The Salesman (Josh Hartnett, also known as The Colonel and The Man), who offers her a cigarette and embraces her before shooting her.
The story then moves to a different part of Sin City, where we meet aging cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis), an honest man who will be retiring as soon as he rescues pre-teen Nancy Callahan from the hands of child molester Roark Junior (Nick Stahl). His partner, Bob (Michael Madsen), unsuccessfully tries to stop him, as do Shlubb and Klump, two of Junior’s bodyguards.
Hartigan chases Junior to a dock and shoots off his ear, arm and genitals. Bob arrives and shoots Hartigan in an attempt to stop him, ending in the near-deaths of both Junior and Hartigan, leaving Nancy in tears.
The story then cuts to Marv (Mickey Rourke), a hulking thug of a man, who has just fallen into bed with Goldie (Jaime King), a beautiful goddess of a woman. They make love, and after three hours, Marv awakens to find Goldie dead next to him. He realizes he has been set up when he hears the police coming down the street, and once they arrive, he fights them off.
He stops to visit Lucille (Carla Gugino), his parole officer, who unsuccessfully tries to convince him not to hunt down Goldie’s killer. He goes to Kadie’s Bar, a sleazy saloon he often visits. He takes several shots before two hitman arrive and take him to a back alley. He kills one and tortures the other to find out who sent them.
From there, he works his way through the ranks, torturing one crook after another to find out who’s behind the whole scheme. It brings him to a priest (Frank Miller, making a special cameo), who informs him that the Roark family is behind the whole thing. Marv kills the priest and moves on, but as he is about to leave, a woman who looks almost exactly like Goldie shows up, hits him several times with her car and shoots him before taking off.
Marv drives to the Roark family farm, where the answers will hopefully be revealed. He fights off a wolf and is attacked by Kevin (Elijah Wood), the cannibalistic hitman who murdered Goldie. He knocks Marv out with a sledgehammer and locks him in the basement. When Marv awakens, he finds the mounted heads of girls on the wall, as well as a nude Lucille, who is in shock after Kevin severed and ate her hand.
Lucille informs Marv that Goldie was a prostitute. Marv breaks out of the basement with Lucille, just as various officers arrive. They kill Lucille and Marv dispatches them with a hatchet. He also learns from the captain that the operation all leads to Cardinal Roark (Rutger Hauer), the brother of Senator Roark. Marv reflects on his confused state and decides to find some evidence before murdering the Cardinal.
He goes to Old Town, a section of Sin City owned and enforced by prostitutes. The Goldie look-alike appears, wounds him and ties him up, where he is interrogated by several prostitutes. The look-alike is Wendy, Goldie’s twin sister. After realizing Marv isn’t the one who has been killing prostitutes, they let him go.
Marv plans to return to the farm and murder Kevin. Wendy goes with him, and Marv tells her about how Goldy was the perfect woman. Arriving at the farm, Marv knocks out Kevin before severing his arms and legs. The wolf then feeds on him before he is decapitated. Marv drops off Goldie and takes the head of Kevin to Cardinal Roark.
Cardinal Roark reveals that eating bodies gave Kevin religious satisfaction, claiming that he could feel the touch of God. Roark had then joined in, and prostitutes were easy targets because nobody missed them after their deaths. However, Goldie was the exception, and her murder sprung the series of events. Marv then kills Cardinal Roark before his guards riddle him with gunfire.
Marv is healed before he is tortured into signing a confession. He is sent to death row, and on the night of his execution, Wendy visits him to make love. Afterwards, he is executed by the electric chair.
The story then moves to Dwight (Clive Owen), a private investigator with a new face. His girlfriend, Shellie (Brittany Murphy) is having trouble with her ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro), an abusive drunk who has stopped by tonight to beat her once again. Dwight dunks his head in the toilet before disappearing, leaving Jackie Boy and his buddies to wander off on their own.
Followed by Dwight, they go to Old Town to look for a woman to spend the night with. They find Becky (Alexis Bledel), a young and inexperienced prostitute. Dwight watches them alongside his on-and-off lover Gail (Rosario Dawson), the leader of the other prostitutes. Miho (Devon Aoki), a skilled assassin, is walking along the rooftops to watch Jackie Boy and his friends.
Becky refuses to get in the car, so Jackie Boy pulls a gun on her, causing Miho to swoop down and mutilate him and his friends. Once they are dead, Dwight realizes that Jackie Boy was a police officer. For years, the prostitutes have held an uneasy truce with the police, and the death of Sin City’s finest will ignite a turf war and result in the death of dozens.
Dwight takes the bodies to a tar pit for disposal. Jackie Boy’s corpse sits in the front seat with him, and Dwight hallucinates that Jackie Boy is still alive and taunting him. Once at The Pits, Dwight is shot by an Irish mercenary. Back in Old Town, Gail is grabbed by Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan), the leader of the mercenaries. One of the prostitutes has informed them of the murder, and now the mercenaries are swooping in to collect the evidence and conquer Old Town.
Back at The Pits, the mercenaries realize that Dwight isn’t dead, just as he jumps up and shoots them. A grenade is tossed, rocking Dwight and the vehicle into the tar. Mercenaries collect Jackie Boy’s head as Dwight sinks, but he is rescued by Miho. They chase down the terrorists and get in another shoot-out but also retrieve the head. They return to Old Town, where Gail is being tortured and Becky is revealed to be the informant. Everyone moves to the back alley, where Dwight is waiting for them.
He trades the head for Gail, and arriving on the scene are the dozens of Old Town prostitutes, who slaughter the terrorists and shoot Becky in the arm. Dwight and Gail kiss amidst the bloodshed.
The story then cuts back to Hartigan, who is currently in a hospital. Meeting him is Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who talks about power and tells him that Junior is in a coma, his body being repaired. Hartigan is going to be framed for Junior’s actions, and if he says otherwise, anyone who knows the truth will be killed.
Hartigan is sent to prison, where Nancy sends him letters every Thursday for eight years. Then her letters stop coming until her severed finger arrives in an envelope. Desperate to get out, Hartigan confesses to the crime and is released. His search for Nancy leads him to Kadie’s Bar, where a nineteen year-old Nancy (Jessica Alba) is sexually dancing for a crowd (In the background, Marv can be seen drinking). Realizing that she was never hurt, he also realizes that Junior has followed him here, now transformed into the hideous Yellow Bastard.
Hartigan and Nancy leave the bar and drive to a motel. During the ride, Yellow Bastard appears and tries to shoot them. They lose him and go to the motel, where Nancy confesses her love to Hartigan before the Yellow Bastard arrives. He hangs Hartigan from a noose and holds Nancy at a needle. He leaves Hartigan for dead, but Hartigan is able to break free and, with the help of Shlubb and Klump, find out where the Yellow Bastard is going: The Roark family farm.
At the farm, Hartigan takes down several guards (And not noticing Kevin) before hearing Yellow Bastard whip Nancy in the farmhouse. The two of them walk down to meet Hartigan, who fakes a heart attack before stabbing, castrating, and then pummeling the Yellow Bastard to death.
Nancy and Hartigan say goodbye. Alone, Hartigan realizes that the death of Yellow Bastard will cause Senator Roark to act again, and will probably result in the death of Nancy. He commits suicide, it being the only way Nancy can escape the wrath of the Roarks.
The last scene moves to the hospital, where Becky is talking to her mother after the shoot-out. As she enters the elevator, the Salesman appears, who asks her if she would like a cigarette.
Top frame, the finished film. Bottom frame, the scene being filmed. Both the actress (Alexis Bledel
) and the car are stationary; the actress is walking on a treadmill.
This film has become one of the first films (along with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Casshern, and Immortel (Ad Vitam)) to be shot primarily on a "digital backlot".
The Sin City movie employed the use of the Sony HDC-950 high-definition digital camera, having the actors work in front of a green screen, that allowed for the artificial backgrounds (as well as some major foreground elements, such as cars) to be added later during the post-production stage. However, it should be noted that three of the sets on the film were practical (i.e. constructed by hand). They were:
- Kadie's Bar, where all of the major characters make an appearance at least once.
- Shellie's apartment. The front door and kitchen are real, while bathroom and corridors are artificial.
- The hospital corridor in the Epilogue. Although the first shot of walking feet was done on greenscreen, the corridor in the next shot is real. The background becomes artificial again when the interior of the elevator is shown.
While the use of a green screen isn't noteworthy, the use of high-definition digital cameras is. The combination of these two techniques makes Sin City (along with Sky Captain, which was produced the same way) one of the few fully digital live action motion pictures. This technique also means that the whole movie was initially shot in full color, and was converted back to high-quality black and white. Colorization is used on certain subjects in a scene, such as eyes, lips, or clothing. The movie was color corrected digitally and, as in film noir tradition, treated for heightened contrast so as to more clearly separate blacks and whites. This was done not only to give the film a more film noir look, but also to make it appear more like the original comic. This technique was used again on another Frank Miller-adaptation, the film 300, which was shot on film.
Differences from the comics
Rodriguez has stated that he does not consider this movie to be an adaptation but a direct "translation." However, there are some notable minor changes from the comic books.
- Marv is holding a lighter before he bursts out of the hotel room at the beginning of The Hard Goodbye. In the book, it was a bottle of pills.
- Marv escapes from the farm by pulling out the window bars. In the book, he escapes by breaking down the door.
- In the book, there is a scene in which Marv gets confused and tries to get in bed with Wendy, thinking that she is Goldie. This scene was eliminated for the movie.
- There was also a scene in which Marv sits on his bed in his mother's house crying. This scene was eliminated.
- The Customer in the prologue scene is wearing a red dress. In the book she is not. This is only notable because she can easily be mistaken for another Sin City character: Mary, the title character from The Babe Wore Red, who wears that exact same outfit.
- Manute is torturing Gail in The Big Fat Kill. In the book, it was a character named Davis who was a master of torture.
- Gail and Dwight kiss at the end of The Big Fat Kill. The book merely ends with a shot of the ambush.
- In the book of The Big Fat Kill, Dwight doesn't go flying through a windshield trying to catch a head, like he does on the film.
- Bob picks up Hartigan from prison in That Yellow Bastard. In the book it was another police officer Hartigan once knew, Mort.
- Hartigan steals the spark plugs from Roark's car after he knocks out Klump and Schlubb in That Yellow Bastard. In the movie, he never does.
- The epilogue is not featured in any of the comic books, but was added to bring the film full circle.
- Kevin was transformed from a middle-aged balding man, to a more slim athletic young man.
- Likewise, Cardinal Roark was not portrayed as a dwarf and Senator Roark was not shown as a fat man.
There are also other changes from the books, such as new and old dialogue trimming, new colorized objects, new viewing angles, and the removal of some nudity (Jessica Alba declined to dance topless as Nancy does in the graphic novels), slightly edited violence and scenes missing (although the extended cut has more scenes from the books). Rodriguez, in his DVD commentary, explains most of these changes were required due to the reality of shooting a live-action film.
One of the earlier Sin City
posters, featuring Mickey Rourke as Marv.
- Following Rodriguez's scoring of Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 2 for $1, Quentin Tarantino directed a scene of Sin City for $1. Tarantino had previously advocated film over the digital cameras used by Rodriguez, but was interested to get to work with them. The scene in question is in The Big Fat Kill, where Dwight drives the body of Det. Jack "Jackie Boy" Rafferty to the "pits". Tarantino wanted to use a real car for the scene but was unable to get the angles he wanted. Rodriguez convinced him to film on a partial set of the automobile interior, constructing the car's roof and sides using CGI, which ultimately resulted in Tarantino getting the shots he desired.
- The titles of the three main vignettes are all used as dialogue within those stories.
- Frank Miller appears in The Hard Goodbye as a priest shot by Marv.
- Among actors who were considered for parts were Michael Douglas, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Walken and Kate Bosworth. Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the part of Junior (pre-The Yellow Bastard) but turned it down. Douglas was offered the role of Hartigan, Buscemi was offered the part of Junior when he became the Yellow Bastard, and Dafoe and Walken were both offered the role of Senator Roark. Bosworth was the first choice for Gail. Johnny Depp was attached to the project as well in a segment based on the most recent full-length graphic novel in the series, "Hell and Back", but due to budget concerns with the film, the segment was dropped. It is now to be the main focus of the third film.
- The swords used by Devon Aoki in this film are the same ones used by some of the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill.
- Namie Amuro sang the image song for the Japanese release of Sin City, named "Violet Sauce".
- Only three sets were built for the movie: the interior of Kadie's Bar, Shellie's apartment and the hospital in the epilogue.
- Both Josh Hartnett and Elijah Wood appeared in a previous film directed by Rodriguez, The Faculty.
- An argument about the movie is alleged to have inspired a male cinema patron in Bathurst, Australia to bite the tip off another man's nose. The two men, who were not known to each other, began arguing after a screening of the movie on July 17, 2005. The man's nose was restored by surgery and police were said to be searching for his attacker.
- The modified Beretta 93R pistol used by RoboCop makes a cameo during That Yellow Bastard.
- A Wilhelm Scream was used, when Marv throws a police officer out of the stolen cop car.
- At the film's premiere at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, Rodriguez placed microphones throughout the audience to record an "Audience-reaction" track for the special edition of the DVD.
- Within the graphic novels, The Yellow Bastard drives a rare late-1930s Bugatti T57SC 'Atlantic' (only three of which were ever produced); hiring this car proved too expensive for the film production, thus an American substitute car was employed.
- During "The Hard Goodbye" when the newspaper is flashed with Marv's picture ("Cold Blooded Murderer in Jail"), if you pause the movie and read the "articles", you'll find the screenplay from the beginning of the movie used as the actual text.
- The taglines for the film were all quotes from the film and graphic novels.
- According to Rodriguez in the DVD featurette "15 Minute Flick School", the segment "The Customer is Always Right" was the first part of the movie to be filmed, and was shot as a test to see if the green screen production techniques were effective. Rodriguez then used this footage to "sell" others into supporting the film.
- One of the prostitutes Marv talks to who is dressed as Wonder Woman is in "The Dark Knight Strikes again", another graphic novel of Frank Miller.
Critical reaction was positive overall, as the film received a 78% "Fresh" rating at internet film website Rotten Tomatoes. Critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review: "It's a visualization of the pulp noir imagination, uncompromising and extreme. Yes, and brilliant." Critic James Berardinelli placed it as one of the ten best films of 2005, calling it "the most visually inventive comic book adaptation to make its way to a movie screen."
The film later arrived at #58 on the IMDb Top 250 with an average rating of 8.5/10 (The highest ranking of any 2005 film). Yahoo! Movies users and Everyone's a Critic users rated the film a "B+" while the film went on to gross $74 million in North America, opening as the #1 film of the weekend (The film later went on to gross $158.7 million worldwide, which was a momumental success for a film that cost just $40 million to produce).
Awards and Nominations
The film has since received the following awards:
The film has since received the following nominations:
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards: Best Acting Ensemble
- Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm - Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
- Czech Lions: Best Foreign Language Film - Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino
- Empire Awards: Best Film, Best Thriller
- IFTA Awards: International Film Award
- Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA: Best Sound Editing in Feature Film - Sound Effects & Foley
- Satellite Awards: Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama - Mickey Rourke, Outstanding Art Direction & Production Design - Jeanette Scott and David Hack, Outstanding Cinematography - Robert Rodriguez, Outstanding DVD Extras, Outstanding Film Editing - Robert Rodriguez, Outstanding Original Score - Robert Rodriguez, Outstanding Overall DVD, Outstanding Sound (Mixing & Editing) - John Pritchett, Sergio Reyes, Robert Rodriguez, Paula Fairfield, William Jacobs, Carla Murray, Outstanding Visual Effects - Robert Rodriguez
(Organized by the story they primarily appear in)
The Customer is Always Right
- Frank Miller's Sin City (Original theatrical)
- Release Date: August 16, 2005
- Run Time: 124 minutes
- Number of discs: 1
- Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
In a rare move, Robert Rodriguez put out a statement a week prior to the first DVD release to assure fans that a more detailed release of the film was to come and the first release was "bare bones" and was being released "because of piracy and stuff like that." This statement didn't curb sales for the disc as it made $9.84 million in sales its first week (according to Home Media Retailing) and topped sales for all DVDs for its first two weeks of release.
- Frank Miller's Sin City (Recut & Extended Edition)
- DVD Features:
- Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
- Commentary by: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller (Unknown Format)
- Commentary by: Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino (Unknown Format)
- Commentary by: Austin premiere audience reaction (Unknown Format)
- Recut and extended theatrical release - separated into four stories
- Original theatrical release including:
- All-new feature commentary with Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller
- All-new feature commentary with Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino
- All-new feature commentary of Austin premiere audience reaction
- Exclusive never-before-seen extras:
- 15-minute film school with Robert Rodriguez
- The movie in high-speed green screen
- The Long Take: 17 uninterrupted minutes of Tarantino's segment
- Sin City Night at Antones -- filmmakers, cast and crew party
- 10-minute cooking school with Robert Rodriguez
- Teaser & theatrical trailers
- A Hard Top With a Decent Engine: The cars of Sin City
- Making the Monsters: Special effects make-up
- Trench Coats & Fishnets: The costumes of Sin City
- Booze, Broads & Guns: The props of Sin City
- How it Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller to make the film
- Special guest director: Quentin Tarantino
- Sin-Chroni-City interactive game
Three versions of the film were included in the 2-disc extended edition: the original theatrical release, a reedited version that divided the four major segments of the film into four separate short films (with additional footage added), and a "green screen" version that showed the film as originally shot, before the addition of special effects. This last version is presented in high-speed so this version of the film actually only runs about 10 minutes.
Rodriguez has said he plans to film all of Miller's stories at some point and has expressed a desire to begin filming two sequels back-to-back starting early 2006 for double release sometime in TBA 2007 and Summer 2008. Plans to include the Sin City story Hell and Back in the first film (with Johnny Depp in the lead role as Wallace) were abandoned before production began and will most likely be filmed for one of the sequels. Rodriguez has confirmed that the next film will be an adaptation of the story A Dame to Kill For, intertwined with a new story (or possibly multiple stories) that Miller wrote exclusively for the movie.
Sin City 2 is currently in the pre-production stage, and Sin City 3: Hell and Back is currently in development stages. Miller has stated that if he has his way, there will be five Sin City movies.
- ^ Teen's nose bitten off in row over Sin City, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 18, 2005
- ^ Greg Dean Schmitz, Sin City (2005), Yahoo! Movies, April 1, 2005
- ^ Frank Miller Talks Sin City 2, Empire, December 23, 2005
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