Sin City: A Dame To Kill For – Film Review

A twisted orgy of monochrome mayhem from Robert Rodriguez

The green screen technology championed by Robert Rodriguez at his Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas on films like Spy Kids and Machete has come a long way since 2005. Fans of his monochrome noir have had to wait nine years for a Sin City sequel. Some have said it’s come too late, but it was worth the wait. Rodriguez promised he would push the envelope with Sin City: A Dame To Kill For and it’s hard to believe that he says the actors were rarely together on set, as the results are astonishing.

Before the opening titles roll we get a bloody taste of the carnage to come as Mickey Rourke’s meathead Marv returns to deliver violent justice to a group of hobo-burning frat boys. And then we meet Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s poker player Johnny who warns us about Sin City: “Go in with your eyes open or you won’t come out at all…”

Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) is the film’s third main character and replaces Clive Owen as the unlucky Dwight. His scraps with man-mountain Manute (Dennis Haysbert) make for bruising viewing as the crimson blood splatters flick off the screen and cut through the black and white. Dwight can’t live without Eva Green’s femme fatale, the “dame to kill for” Ava Lord (pictured). Good men are driven mad by the “goddess” and Green’s vamp-like presence looms over the film.

Clearly a labour of love, fans won’t be disappointed. It’s all ultra-stylised. When Jessica Alba’s stripper loses the plot in her quest to avenge the death of cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) your 3D Raybans will draw you into a desperately dark and ultra-violent noir thriller where fingers get mangled with pliers, jawbones shatter, bodies get tenderised with bullets and eyeballs dangle from ruptured sockets.

Look out for some cool cameos from Back to the Future‘s Christopher Lloyd as a junky doctor, Entourage‘s Jeremy Piven as a crumpled cop and Lady Gaga’s waitress with a heart of gold. Miller even pops up in his rotten town that “kills everything it touches”. Dive bars, smokey side streets and diners are stunningly realised inside a computer generating an ever-changing backdrop for a series of engaging vignettes.

At times it can feel a little uneven with multiple narrators stretching the story and vying for our attention but it’s a tribute to Frank Miller’s graphic novel that the film he co-directs with Robert Rodriguez is a twisted orgy of monochrome mayhem you just can’t take your eyes off.