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April 03, 2005


Peli Grietzer

I never read much by Miller- only some of DKR, but I was always under the impression that it's a completely canonical notion that his work takes inferior generic premises and problematic politics into dizzying artistic heights with his great artistry and skill.

Did I get the wrong impression about his stature within the canon, or are you just suggesting a subversive opinion about this consensus?


I would say it's a completely canonical notion that Miller treated those generic premises and problematic politics with great artistry and skill back in the DKR/Daredevil days. I doubt that my opinion about Sin City, the movie or the comic, is that subversive.


Sin City reminds me of Walter Mosley, what with the interest in pulpy noir and creaky old people. But Mosley bought many things to his writing; the black experience, an eye for location and period and Sin City just feels like EC comics and the most superficial aspects of Ramond Chandler filtered through the Millarscope. It can be good when going for dark humor (I'm going to break with the rest of the blogoshere and say I liked the Marv part the best) but the whole thing is kind of creaky. It's not satire or serious, and people have been making fun of noir for like 50 years.

Like alot of reviews I've read of Tarantino, I'd like to see him evolve past the violence and stylish tics he uses as a crutch. I believe he is one of the best craftsmen in comics, it'd be nice to see him grow, not try to re-do his succeses like he's been doing with Batman. (And thats why Sin City dissapointed me)


I liked aspects of the Marv episode - the indications that he might have been hallucinating (not exploited nearly enough), his impossible tolerance for pain - but their gruff humor was obliterated by anything involving the Kevin character.

Beat the hell out of the Hartigan sequences, anyway. Actually, there was a moment at the end where I was hoping the episodes would converge (as I'm given to understand the original stories with Marv and Dwight did), but the movie never quite got there.


The initial post actually managed to sell me on this movie. (Of course, for all the wrong reasons.)

I am not a fan of Sin City, nor of Miller for that matter. I kind of liked Dark Knight (even as a kid I was not that wowed). But, I have never been a huge Miller fan.

Why then am I sold by a less than favorable review? Simple. I have to give credit where credit is due. This movie seems to capture *exactly* what its source material was.

Marv comes off as an amoral SOB. Good. That is what Marv is.

Look at this movie as a grittier variant of the 1960s Batman show. It may not be much to watch, but you have to admire the fact that it so completely captures source material from a completely different format/medium.

I can admire the craft, if not the product.

David Fiore

the big problem with Miller is that he thinks noir is about going "blood simple" (as a point of gnostic honour), rather than about sitting back and regretting going blood simple (as the Continental Op does, at the end of Red Harvest...) that's a fatal flaw...


Even so, Miller is hardly alone in that. A great many people, (writers and readers/viewers), confuse sex and violence with "sophisticated" narrative.

I think Miller has more credibility, for lack of a better word, than others who do that because he was one of the first to bring those elements to mainstream comics.

J.W. Hastings

David: Except that Miller's characters (1) have given up on "regret" even before their stories start and (2) aren't outsiders coming in to clean up a mess like the Op was in Poisonville.


I can't hold up Hammett as the sole yardstick for hard-boiled fiction (or noir); Miller's work draws from a generic - in the most negative sense - stock of noir cliches, typically the knights-errant of Chandler or the debaunched violence and sexual panic of Spillane. (Although every now and then he does produce a little gem like the Hammett-meets-Springsteen "Badlands" story in Daredevil.) It doesn't surprise or bother me that he doesn't conform exactly to Hammett's patterns. It does bother me that he falls short of every influence by reducing them to their most lurid and superficial elements.


I thought it was interesting that, in a movie called "Sin City", the city really never factored into the picture. The show was entirely character driven, and the set pieces were always minimalized by the stylized (dis)coloration. Sure, you had "the bar", and "the farm", and where ever it was that all the hookers lived, but none of these setting really stood out as helping to define a city worthy of the film's name. The only car chase of the film didn't even appear to have gone through anything I would call a city.

I have to agree with the rather lukewarm review Marc gave it. The characters were a little too caricatured for my taste, and the stories only seemed to converge in a ham-handed manner at the end. At about the halfway point of the movie, where my tolerance for gratuitous violence has waned, and I start really looking for something else in the film to entertain me, I am left wanting.


Yeah, there isn't much of a sense of setting, only heavyhanded atmosphere. (Poisonville it ain't.)

I wonder if I would have liked the movie more if Rodriguez had intercut the three main stories and had run them more or less simultaneously. At least it would have created a sense of characters moving through a shared space and towards a common climax, not the three essentially disconnected tales that only overlap through a couple of supporting characters. It felt like an attempt to duplicate the structure of Pulp Fiction that never quite gelled.

Actually, it occurs to me that an extremely charitable viewer might say that Nancy Callahan is the lynchpin that holds the movie together, the ultimate (sex) object for many of the characters, and that the movie appropriately kept the interconnections between stories limited to her and her place of business. But I'm not inclined to be that charitable: she didn't have anything to do with the "Big Fat Kill" sequence, and the narratives are no more unified after her appearance than they were before it.

Oh, and she's part of the dumbest plot in the movie. All of the Hartigan/Nancy material was pretty painful, and if Nancy is the closest thing this movie has to a center that goes a long way towards explaining my lack of interest.

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