'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' Doubles Down On Misogyny And Cheap Cynicism
For all the meticulous work and design that went into the singular look of Sin City and its recently released followup, subtitled A Dame To Kill For, it all goes for naught because of its bland look and how badly it disrespects its noir influences. To call both Sin City films 'neo-noir' does a disservice to the complexity of the hallowed genre. Instead of dealing with gradients and shadows like the forebearers of Hammett, Chandler, and Huston, co-directors Frank Miller (whose graphic novels of the same title the films serve as the source material) and Robert Rodriguez's dichromatic film dabbles in cheap nihilism that are about as insightful as a punk-rock patch from Hot Topic. One wonders why bright patches of white were even a part of A Dame To Kill For's visual palette. Miller and Rodriguez has no interest in depicting anything other than vileness.
A Dame To Kill returns some of the cast from its predecessor (Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson) with some new faces (Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Meloni, to name a few) to put together an ensemble of talent working with material well below their pay rate. Also returning from the previous Sin City are the dull visuals. Both Sin Cities are so dutifully faithful to the look of Miller's graphic novels that they feel static and uninspired in a triple-meta manner; the movies imitate material meant to imitate movies. Violence in A Dame To Kill For is punctuated with stylish spurts of crimson red blood that break up the bold black and white, but it may as well be the self-satisfied ejaculate from orgies of visually unspectacular violence.
The film also further doubles down on Miller's insipid misogyny. Jessica Alba's saint-in-a-stripclub Nancy returns for the film's bookends to the titular plot revolving around the femme fatale Ava (Eva Green, running circles around everybody again in her role as she did in 300: Rise Of An Empire earlier this year) and her helpless prey Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin). Plot details aren't as important as the fact that women in A Dame To Kill For aren't characters so much as items to be rescued, mistrusted, leered at, fucked, harmed, or murdered.
Don't let Rodriguez and Miller's brutality and juvenile mindset lead you into thinking they have anything remotely intelligent to say. A Dame To Kill For's world of crooked politicians, jaded antiheroes and harlots in distress is just a celebration of masculine cynicism. Movie-goers in Los Angeles are best served seeing Billy Wilder's noir masterpiece Double Indemnity tonight in Westwood instead of this rubbish.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is now in theaters, unfortunately.