Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - Review

Nine years ago, Robert Rodriguez's Sin City hit theatres, heralding a new era for comic book films due to its unique visual design and darker, true-to-comic content. But my how things have changed since then. Just think, now we’ve got a vast library of Marvel films, an immensely successful Batman trilogy and a handful of highly entertaining adaptations (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Kick-Ass, RED etc) under our belts. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is not only an excruciating experience to endure but harbours some deeply disturbing traits. 

The story is separated into three sub-plots which kind of overlap and weave through one another. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about any of the stories: they are simple variations on one revenge trope or another. Eva Green plays the titular ‘dame to kill for’ Ava, who entraps Dwight (Josh Brolin) in a plot to kill her husband, which leads to Dwight engaging the services of heavy hitter Marv (Mickey Rourke) when things start looking a little hairy. At the same time, Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is exercising his daddy-issue demons by playing high stakes poker against his deplorable father, Senator Roarke (Powers Boothe). And finally there’s stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold Nancy (Jessica Alba), who hates the Senator for past sins and blah blah blah all very generic and boring. Sorry, but when the story is so paint-by-numbers simple it’s really not worth going through.

In yet another poor offering, serious questions should now be asked about Rodriguez's relevance as a director. There's been a rather steady decline in his work for the past few years. His uber-cheap, indie-slapdash approach echoes a certain charm, yet sadly that echo is getting awfully faint and boringly predictable. His over-reliance on ultra violence is more cartoonish than I'm guessing he's intending it to be. Rodriguez supporters over the years have claimed that a subtle social commentary underpins his work, but that commentary is now undetectable. His style is at best a day late and a buck short. I'll happily steer clear of future films with his name attached.

Like the river of slime in Ghostbusters 2, this film has an appalling amount of misogyny-fuelled aggression towards women, constantly flowing just beneath its surface, masquerading as a homage to film noir. This films relishes violence against women like a maladjusted child pulling the wings off a fly. In this messed up corner of the world, apparently women can only be whores, strippers or devious vixens out to con every man in sight. This is sending out a very poor message to the film’s target audience, which I'm guessing will be males aged seventeen to thirty: precisely the age bracket that can help change misogynistic attitudes in pop culture and society in general. Sure, the women get their moments to shine in this film, but they have to do it clad in either ridiculous S & M inspired costuming or stark naked. The treatment of the female characters is so offensive it’s almost laughable.

It’s time for Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez to sit down and watch The Hunger Games or revisit Alien and wake up to the fact that women have bucket loads to offer when it comes to playing characters who are required to kick ass and take names. Please don’t waste your time with this film. The quicker this comes and goes, the better off we’ll all be.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is in theatres now, if you see the film and agree or disagree with my thoughts, feel free to drop a line below.

- Stu


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