20 August 2007

Rodriguez (2005)

2005 - Sin City - Like eating a hamburger and drinking a brew. It's a manly feast of honor fighting evil in a twisted world. Beautifully shot, near-perfect casting (thanks for nothing, Michael Madsen), and a great score. I haven't been this entertained by such an unrepentantly dark film since I repeatedly went to screenings of The Crow back in high school. Something about this ultra-violent and grim world speaks to me on the reptilian level of my brain.

The film begins and ends with a man seducing and killing a woman. The only strong women in the show are prostitutes or strippers, and they still need help and leadership from Marv, Dwight and Hartigan. Women are smacked around by boyfriends, eaten by cannibals, and beaten by yellow bastards. Is this film misogynistic? Perhaps. I could also see painting the movie with a broader misanthropic brush. Outside of the honorable warriors of the picture -- Marv, Dwight, Hartigan, Miho and Gail -- humanity isn't portrayed as the noblest of species here. Corrupt cops, crooked clergy, and perverted politicians' sons abound.

This has to be the most faithful adaptation ever filmed. With a novel, I'm always one to say that I don't care how closely a film sticks to its source book. Writing and filmmaking are completely different art forms; some things that work well in writing (long interior monologues) don't work well on screen. Graphic novels, however, are different. They're essentially movie storyboards with the dialogue conveniently circled. It makes sense to use them this way when translated them into film. The results speak for themselves, I think. All of the creative energy Frank Miller originally put into framing his comic panels is preserved in the movie. The same goes for his noir dialogue. Using this, beyond his respect for the author, I see as more of Rodriguez's ultra-efficient filmmaking style. It makes sense and it worked. Bring on part 2. (9/10)