Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is brought to you in three dimensions, two colours and one tone of voice. Everyone sounds as if they’re trying out to replace Don La Fontaine. If they’d wanted an amazing twist, they should have got a guest cameo from Emma Thompson asking if anyone had ever considered just trying to talk out their problems.
Of course, that would have jolted the entire tone of the movie. The first Sin City was a genuine novelty. There’d never been anything like it and it almost didn’t matter what was going on; the look was amazing enough no matter what was actually happening on screen. Nine years down the road, we’ve got used to CGI and comic book adaptations (to the point where I have to think hard to come up with a recent movie which wasn’t a comic book adaptation). And so I was looking at A Dame to Kill For and weighing it up as something more than visual tour de force.
Man, it’s an unsettling movie. Everyone’s horrible. When the nearest thing to a voice of reason in your movie is Jeremy Piven telling someone else that he’s crazy to be falling for a whore … And there’s a lot of things I just couldn’t look at (I worry about the world when I’m looking distractedly at anything but the screen and there are people behind me in the cinema laughing their heads off). Eva Green, as usual, is the best thing in the movie, right up to the moment when she gets murdered to bits because Frank Miller hates women; this is starting to feel like her thing now. Mickey Rourke is back as Marv and Jessica Alba is back as Nancy. It’s weird watching Jessica Alba in movies; I saw her first on Dark Angel where she was bigger than the TV set; putting her in movies makes her seem much less alive. It’s even weirder watching Mickey Rourke as Marv if you’re old enough to remember the original pretty pre-boxing-and-plastic-surgery model.
It’s a great looking movie. Trouble is, making great images of something horrible makes the horrible even worse. And there’s quite a bit of horrible in the movie; small bits of nasty business, a big sweep of “murder solves everything” and a permanent current of “Just what the hell is wrong with Frank Miller’s relationship with women?”. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere in Sin City where a girl can buy sensible clothing, probably because all the retail space is either dives or gun shops. And you need the gun shops, heaven knows, because there’s only two jobs in Sin City for women; hooker, and armed hooker.
The first movie was, in its own weird way, somewhat indispensable. But we probably just needed the one.