The International Writers Magazine: DVD Review

Sin City
Co-Written and directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
Starring Bruce Willis , Jessica Alba...
Claire Murray

It’s no kind of night to stay in the city; It’s no kind of night to stay in anything.’ It is a compelling night when you stay in and enter this macabre world filled with black and white. This is the comic book world of Sin City slightly distorted, a far superior world to that of the tattered pages and sometimes sketchy drawings of the comics.

This film hints at paper and ink and yet the two seem a little antithetical and result in a half-breed; a cross between the comic page and the sensual effects of the screen. This duality creates an intimate half light, a twilight zone as if you are experiencing the light thrown from someone else’s lamp whilst they turn the pages for you. This black and white demi-monde reinvents colour, absurdly beautiful, it shines out from the screen like an undiscovered rare jewel. Colour punctuates and shocks and is offered as a rare treat even though there is a simple satisfaction to be appreciated in black and white shades. Perhaps it is a step too far?
An ‘oh you are spoiling us’ moment in a world of already shocking excess and decadence.

This film cleverly points out both the sparseness and excesses of human nature. Depravity is painted in white, it is the shocking white liquid pouring from mutilated limbs; it is the page itself and what the wandering mind creates upon its surface. The darkness is the result of those wanderings, the creations themselves. Miller created a beast and his beast is raw and grotesque yet exquisitely human. He framed his beast between feline familiars set in all its glory against flawed perfection so that you cannot deny its feral appeal. The beast longs for beauty and its vulnerable human pain is set against a surreal angelic light. Miller has portrayed the pain of life, the pain of the city itself, heavy with the scent of desire and isolation. Here love runs parallel with hate and its pain is both murderer and murdered.

In this visual world love exists in golden hair or a letter and there is nothing we wouldn’t do to feast upon the visual, nothing we wouldn’t do for love. So we take our seats and sup on pain for a while, purely for the sake of lust. Ironically there is no pain in the decapitated body or the impact of torture, no screams in comparison to the sheer agony of desire but then this is reality cleverly disguised as Sin City. This is humankind at its most basic, portraying all of the oppositions in life, the real and unreal, beauty and ugliness, strength and weakness, violence and love all of life’s truths both covered and exposed. Sometimes we are forced to imagine the worst in a place where beauty attacks you from the face of the beast itself. Connected yet separated this is the city of life where desperation, madness, lust, passion and loss are rife and you’d be a fool not to stay for a while and appreciate this wild mixed up reverie called humankind.
© Claire Murray November 2006

Claire is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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