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Sin City

By Dave Menendez
Sunday, April 17, 2005, at 4:15 PM

Summary: I’m not sure what I think of Sin City.

I saw Sin City last night. It’s one of those movies that make me glad I’m not a film reviewer, because I can’t quite figure out what I think of it. It’s pretty much what I was expecting, I don’t regret seeing it, and I can’t say I disliked it, but I’m not sure I can say I liked it, either.

Even the visual look of the film leaves me ambivalent. It’s very impressively done, but it’s also distracting at times. There are things you can do with drawn art (including animation) that don’t work as well in live action.

Some have called it misogynistic, on the grounds that the female characters are mostly strippers and prostitutes. (The exceptions are a strip-club waitress, a mercenary, an Asian assassin who never speaks, a parole officer with an extended nude scene, and a shrieking judge who condemns a framed man.) There also seems to be a strong correlation between how much skin a character shows and how decent a person she is. (On the other hand, every character with a nude scene ends up getting murdered.)

Really, the movie is more misanthropic. Everyone comes off badly. Indeed, the female antagonists have understandable motives, whereas most of the male villains are horrific monsters. Even the male protagonists are pretty awful; in a different world, they’d be villains.

I have a tendency to rethink films over time. I’ve grown to appreciate Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy more than when I first saw it (2), and I grew to like The Phantom Menace less. No doubt Sin City will be the same.