On the Silver Screen – Sin City: A Dame to Kill for
It’s quite baffling that a sequel to Sin City has taken this long to exist given the fact that it was popular at the time and plans for a sequel have been discussed pretty much ever since. For a while it seemed as if we weren’t to get a sequel at all but here it is.
This time out there are three main stories to focus on lead by Dwight (Josh Brolin), Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Nancy (Jessica Alba), two of which focus on a vendetta against Powers Boothe’s corrupt Senator Roark and the other centers on Eva Green’s Ava and her machinations to gain her husband’s wealth and power; this story gives the film its title and forms the bulk of the narrative.
All three of the stories feel almost completely separate from each other; there’s some overlap mostly involving the club that Nancy dances at but for the most part the stories stand alone. The strongest of these stories is the titular one where Ava uses her feminine wiles to control and manipulate men to do whatever she wants them to. Eva Green performs this role wonderfully. Audiences saw her play a femme fatale in 300: Rise of an Empire earlier this year and she absolutely nails that again here. She manages to go from vulnerable victim to sultry temptress at a moment’s notice and do it believably. Her performance in this film really can’t be praised enough but it remains to be seen if she can move past this type of role as it’s functionally the same as the character she played earlier this year. Josh Brolin also does well in this story; ably portraying a man who should know better but doesn’t quite manage to be strong enough. The way he slowly succumbs to Ava’s charms is nicely done.
The other two stories are where the film somewhat falls apart. Johnny’s story isn’t given enough screen time to be particularly effective and the revelations contained within are somewhat empty; I never really had cause to care about his character, good as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in the role. An amusing turn from Christopher Lloyd helps to elevate this slightly.
Nancy’s story wasn’t bad but it wasn’t particularly great. Her haunting by the memory of Bruce Willis’ John Hartigan was a little overplayed but her descent into near madness was well done and I thought Alba played this well. Ultimately it plays out somewhat predictably but it is pretty fun nonetheless. Mickey Rourke’s Marv helps bring an entertaining level of chaos to this segment as well.
The first movie is well remembered for the unique Noir comic book style and striking visuals that are nicely replicated here; even the 3D effect is well used in places. Visually the two films stack up well against each other. I feel like this film goes more out of its way to be shocking than the first one but it generally looked great. The action was nicely over the top and beautiful to look at, the use of colour is striking and the city feels like a living, breathing entity despite being created entirely on green screen.The violent action is great as well, especially from Marv who goes on some entertaining rampages throughout.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill for
As sequels go this is a long time coming and on the whole it feels somewhat pointless after this length of time. The quality of the film doesn’t really live up the hype generated over such a long period of time. It’s good enough for what it is and one of the stories even manages to achieve greatness at points but the film as a whole doesn’t quite match the original. In general the first film goes for style over substance like this one does but it works better as a complete package that ties the stories together; this outing has too much of a disconnect between the stories and seems to be trying too hard to match the style of the first in order to mask the shallow plotting beneath the surface.