Director: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green
Running Time: 102 mins
Release Date: August 25th
Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez reunite for the sequel to 2005’s Sin City. Based on Miller’s series of graphic novels, A Dame To Kill For follows its predecessor’s lead by tackling multiple storylines, in this case two from Miller’s books and two that he wrote specifically for the movie. We are also, as before, treated to an unparalleled ensemble cast, it would seem every A-lister in Hollywood was eager to be associated with it.
Super-stylised, in stark black and white, with flashes of colour, the film visually emulates a comic-book, with graphic ultra-violence to boot. In tone the film is reminiscent of pulp noir; gumshoe detectives with gravelly voices saving damsels in distress. In fact there may not be any gravel left in Hollywood after this outing, with every male actor determined to groan their way through proceedings a-la Tom Waits.
What is notable is that male characters are the only ones to get internal monologues; we see Sin City through their eyes. While there are physical, violently powerful women, only Eva Green’s character is a match for this male dominated world, and even she can only succeed by using her body; in fact her breasts should really have their own billing as they are as much a focus of the camera’s gaze as anything else on screen.
The violence is cartoonish, yet a severed head at one point brought a bit of a wince and a thought that perhaps audiences today are surrounded by too many real life acts of barbarity to relish this any more. Sin City is an empty moral shell, perhaps a more accurate reflection of society than we would wish.
In terms of pure entertainment, A Dame to Kill For is lacking. The original Sin City was fresh and stunning, like nothing we’d seen before, the effect is lessened when repeated. The comic book feel also leads to some oddly static scenes, where the camera lingers a little bit too long, as if waiting for us to turn the page.
It’s hard to call the performances in this one, as the actors really ham it up. A wildly melodramatic performance from Eva Green steals the show, while Gordon-Levitt is sadly underused after a promising opening. Powers Boothe, as usual, is a flawless, grinning villain, but the rest of the cast phone it in. While the plots aren’t complicated, if you haven’t seen the first instalment, and in fact if it’s not particularly fresh in your mind, you will struggle to keep up at points, as there are many references to it, not least a ghostly Bruce Willis, who may well have wandered in from The Sixth Sense.
In all, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a competent sequel, but really one for the die-hards that brings nothing new to the table.