Thursday Night Movie Club
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
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Release Date: 22 August 2014

Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Mickey Rourke
Jessica Alba
Josh Brolin
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Rosario Dawson
Bruce Willis
Eva Green
Powers Boothe
Dennis Haysbert
Ray Liotta
Christopher Meloni
Jeremy Piven
Christopher Lloyd
Jaime King
Juno Temple
Stacy Keach
Lady Gaga
Senator Roark
Goldie / Wendy
Sin City movie poster Sin City movie poster Sin City movie poster
Eva Green and Stacy Keach in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForDirectors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez put the "graphic" in graphic novel once again in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. There is violence around every corner. Does anyone have a friend in this bleak, depressing city? No. At best there are conveniently formed alliances.

Screenwriter Frank Miller interweaves three main stories and throws in a few substories for good measure. Marv (Mickey Rourke) is a big hulk of a man with problems... serious problems. He finds himself at the scene of a car wreck wearing a fancy leather overcoat. Unfortunately for him and many others in his path, he has absolutely idea what just happened. His search for the truth doesn't yield many answers.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForJohnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a man who, quite literally, cannot lose. He can take a single silver dollar, put it in a slot machine, and hit the jackpot. His fingers and hands are very skilled performing magic tricks and dealing cards. Johnny's problem is he wants to beat the toughest man in Sin City at his own game. He joins a high-stakes poker game overseen by the corrupt and very powerful Senator Roark (Powers Booth). Johnny wins the game but ultimately loses the battle.

Dwight (Josh Brolin) makes one simple mistake and pays dearly. He answers a call to meet an old flame Ava (Eva Green). Dwight has put her on the back shelf swearing he will never again see her. He does and finds himself smack in the middle of a cat-and-mouse game where he doesn't know the rules. Ava keeps trying to flee her abusive husband only to be dragged back home by her body guard Manute (Dennis Haysbert). Despite everything, Dwight still has passionate feelings for Ava. The question Dwight faces is: are his feelings real?

Jessica Alba as Nancy in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForNancy (Jessica Alba) is an exotic dancer who cannot get passed the death of her one and only true love Detective Hartigan (Bruce Willis). Hartigan promised that he would always be there for her. A ghost who is always with her is no comfort to Nancy. She cannot interact with a ghost. She dances with a loaded revolver waiting for the chance to avenge Hartigan by killing Senator Roark. She has her chance every single night yet she cannot pull the trigger. This realization is slowly driving Nancy insane. Stay in Sin City long enough and insanity becomes the norm.

Muddying the waters is Miller's confusing timeline. Is this a sequel, a prequel, or both? Realistically, the timeline is not important. The characters and their stories are. Miller and Rodriguez find the perfect actors to portray these very disturbed characters. Despite or inspite of the violence, these are characters the audience cares about. Anyone who relates to these characters should have his head examined.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the epitome of film noir. The film is a graphic novel brought to life through the creative use of animation and rotoscoping. The film is beautiful on a morbid level. The violence is viceral. The sets, backdrops, environments, clothes and spot color are carefully scrutinized. Each element serves a purpose.

Eva Green and as Ava in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForAva's green eyes are hypnotic. Her dazzling blue coat is a sharp contrast to the drab black and white surroundings. Both elements focus all attention on her. Just the way Ava wants it. Spot color can also be a simple flat white as in the case of Mort (Christopher Meloni). Sometimes, his glasses completly obscure his eyes. Other times, his eyes are revealed to show the monster lurking just under the surface. The club district is ablaze in neon lights that gloss over the misery lurking just behind each door.

Connecting each individual story is not a chance encounter. Each story is a character study. The main characters have a personal code of ethics. Do not cross them. Marv is only happy when he is killing. An innocent joke about Marv's coat from a bunch of college kids results in killing. Marv takes the comment as an insult. Dwight doesn't ask Marv for help. He simply tells Marv what he wants done. After that, Marv decides if he is in or out.

Mickey Rourke as Marv in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForDwight, before his face-altering surgery, is a sucker for a damsel in distress, and he knows it. This knowledge doesn't stop him from "helping" Ava. Dwight's biggest failing is that he is too honest for his own good. He assumes everyone else is honest with him. Dwight enlists Marv's help, not out of friendship. Dwight knows Marv gets the job done. To Dwight, Marv is just a tool to be used. Let the genie out at your own peril.

Johnny has something to prove. Despite everyone advising him against it, he joins the poker game with the intent of beating Roark. For all of his talents, Johnny lives in the here and now. Only after he beats Roark does he consider the consequences. Johnny's true identity and the reason he goes after Roark is a surprise to the audience, not to Johnny or Roark. It doesn't change the inevitable.

Roark's son tried and failed twice to assault and murder Nancy. Being stopped both times by Hardigan. At the end of "Sin City", Detective Hartigan kills himself so that Roark would not go looking for her. Nancy is safe. Instead of just driving off into the sunset to start her life over, Nancy returns to Sin City where revenge is eating her alive. As Nancy, she doesn't have the guts to kill Roark. She must become someone else. She must become something else.

Eva Green as Ava in Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForEva may be the most fascinating/intriguing character of the lot. Her special talent is men always believe everything she tells them. She is a beautiful, innocent women whose husband takes sadistic pleasure in torturing her physically and mentally. She cannot get out because Manute will always find her. Police detective Mort does his job professionally investigating the murder of Ava's husband. He dutifully takes down her statement. Dwight learns the truth about her all too late. Ava is an enchantress, a witch. Her demeanor is a facade. Her heart is not made of gold but a festering, rotting, acidic pool of evil.

The acting is stellar. Eva Green is absolutely fantastic. Green seduces not only the other characters in the film but every male member of the audience. Must be those emerald eyes. Powers Booth chews scenery like he is trying for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for just this role alone. Booth relishes every nuance of Senator Roark keeping the lust for power and control on full boil just below the surface. Roark is a master of self-control. He is a man possessed by ultimate power but cannot see the obvious. He is only Numero Uno for life!

Mickey Rourke seemingly spent his entire acting career building up just for this one role. Marv is a brute, the demon spawn of Godzilla and King Kong. Marv has a condition but no one knows what that is. He swallows his medication in mouthfuls. He kills if the wind blows not caring from what direction. What does it say about Rourke's acting that the audience "likes" Marv?

Most disturbing is Jessica Alba's performance. Nancy's dark transformation is disturbing and frightening as a whore with a heart of gold turns into a female Marv. This is Nancy's only choice if she is going to avenge Hartigan.

Viewing Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in 3D really grabs the audience and pulls them into the gritty and dark locales, situations and characters. If you can stomach the graphic violence, this is a very good film.