Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Film Noir - Sin City

Sin City (2005) is adapted from three hardboiled comic books by the renowned graphic novelist Frank Miller, who has directed the film. The film explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption. The stark black and white images, with beautifully calculated splashes of vivid color, are shockingly faithful to Miller's lurid, ultra-violent, crime-riddled world. It's an alternative universe where almost everyone is a perpetrator, a victim or a witness.

Co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez, with a special guest director stint by Quentin Tarantino, the film was shot entirely against green screens using the latest in high-definition cameras. Rodriguez and Miller have lifted the comic-book panels from page to screen. The result is an eye-popping visceral feast.

The film opens with a brief teaser featuring a doomed dame standing on a terrace high above the cold, teeming city. Her flaming red dress is in high contrast to the black and white world she inhabits. In a cameo role, Josh Hartnett enters the scene with the words, "She shivered in the wind like the last leaf on a dying tree." He then simultaneously kisses and kills her. The stage, and the tone, is set.

Then, like a smack in the face, the action charges into the first of three graphic novels, "That Yellow Bastard." This story is cut in two, thereby framing the film's beginning and conclusion. A good cop, Bruce Willis, with a bad ticker, it's a tragic tale of the hunt for a raging pedophile named Roark Jr. Jessica Alba who plays Nancy, an erotic dancer who, as a child, was one of Roark's victims.  

The attention then switches to Miller's "The Hard Goodbye," starring an unrecognizable Mickey Rourke as a half-man, half-beast killing machine named Marv. He's seeking revenge for the murder of a hooker named Goldie (Jaime King) who showed him the only touch of kindness he ever received. 

The final vignette "The Big Fat Kill" includes some major performances. Clive Owen is Dwight, one of Sin City's only good guys. Rosario Dawson plays Gail, his ex-lover and the leader of a gang of Amazonian hookers. Benicio Del Toro does a great turn as Jackie Boy, a ruthless, corrupt cop. Brittany Murphy portrays Jackie Boy's reluctant girlfriend, Shellie. When Jackie Boy is murdered, Dwight steps in and maintains the truce set up between the hookers of Old Town and the cops. 

We can compare the visual characteristic of  Sin City to film noir style, because of the technics that was used. For example, all of the shots were black and white, and the lighting was dramatic. There was a lot of shadows which represents film noir style, and the light was crucial as it highlighted the most important parts of each shot, for example, a gun. Subject matter was Mafia, murderers, femme fatal, guns and blood. Clothing of the male characters has also indicated the film noir style, as they wore hats and long coats, therefore they have looked both, mysterious and dangerous.  

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