"It's going to be blood for blood and by the gallon - these are the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days." That's a promise made good by Mickey Rourke's street tough psycho in the brash, beautiful and breathlessly violent Sin City. Frank Miller adapts his own graphic novels and co-directs with Robert Rodriguez to produce this fiercely original crime anthology that hits right between the eyes with a striking blend of old-school noir and newfangled comicbook visuals.
A fraying sense of morality weaves together three tales: Rourke is a lonely lunkhead hell-bent on avenging a murdered prostitute; Clive Owen is an ex-detective caught between the law and a gang of hookers; and Bruce Willis plays a craggy cop framed for raping the girl he's sworn to protect (Jessica Alba). This is a world where the line between right and wrong is blurred and expressed in steely shades of grey, occasionally broken by the ruby rich splatter of blood. It's all at once seedy and seductive..
"HUMOUR BLACK AS NIGHT"
Miller and Rodriguez amplify the hardboiled style with point-blank dialogue and humour black as night (at one point Owen chinwags with Benicio Del Toro's half-decapitated corpse). However, one snag of this high-concept approach is the instant barrier it creates, softening the impact of routine butchery, but also ruling out any chance of emotional involvement. Willis offers the most sympathetic portrayal, as well as the least self-conscious, but the emphasis is definitely not on shaping complex characters. Instead Sin City offers an intoxicating supply of guilty pleasure that makes Vegas look like Disney World.