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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

08/28/14
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez bring you Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, a follow-up to their 2005 movie you probably forgot about which is constructed mostly of narration and spiffy graphics. 
 
As you’ll remember if, like me, you watch the Cinema Sins video for the original Sin City and then fill in the plot gaps with a skimming of Wikipedia, Basin City, a noir-ish, even seedier version of Los Angeles, is controlled in large part by the powerful Roark family, which has its hand in politics, law and crime. Parts of this movie happen before the action of 2005’s movie and at least one segment happens afterward. In that chapter, Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba), the dancer twice rescued from a murderous, perverted Roark by good-cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis), is now tormented by Hartigan’s death and trying to work up her nerve for revenge against Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), father of the man who tried to kill her. 
 
In other segments, we meet up with (a still alive) tough guy Marv (Mickey Rourke), who kills a few ne’er-do-wells both for his own enjoyment and also, in another segment, to help out Dwight (Josh Brolin), a private investigator whose sultry ex-girlfriend Ava (Eva Green) shows up to ask for help escaping her abusive husband. And then there’s the story of Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a poker expert who attempts to take down Senator Roark at his own game. 
 
As with the first movie, A Dame to Kill For is shot in a hyper-stylized black-and-white, where whites frequently gleam (especially the whites of nearly everybody’s eyes) and blood is sometimes a splattery white and sometimes a scene’s sole pop of color — a red trickle here, a blue dress there, a bronze fake eyeball over there (yeah, don’t ask). And sure, this still looks kind of cool but, OK, now what?
 
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For acts as though it’s still 2005 and we’re all waiting for more on tales of darkness and woe from Basin City. (And while perhaps fans of the Frank Miller comic are, I remember  the original movie more for its then-unique visual style.) Here, it’s as though 2007 and 300 never happened, as though this year’s 300: Rise of an Empire (also of Frank Miller origins) and its nearly identical use of Eva Green never happened. And sure, Eva Green as a lunatic villain is fun, but I don’t know that I need to watch her play basically the same lunatic villain. Nor am I as wowed by the look of the movie, which is now a familiar approach to fantastical, alternative-world storytelling. And that’s kind of all A Dame to Kill For has going for it — stuff I’ve mostly seen before presented with no extra flourish of storytelling, character development or visual style.  C-
 
Rated R for a strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and brief drug use. Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez and written by Frank Miller, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is an hour and 42 minutes long and is distributed by The Weinstein Company.
 

 






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