Sin City is one of the most amazing films in recent years. Robert Rodriguez's "translation" of the Frank Miller graphic novels finally does what so few films even attempt: it reinvents the medium.
Sin City perfectly creates what is, essentially, a moving comic book. Moody, expressionist lighting creates stark contrasts between light and dark (read: the division between good and evil). Even the wardrobe is carefully coordinated for each character to allow the raincoats to billow and flare with special glow.
If you've seen a preview, you probably know that Rodriguez is playing with the tension between color and black and white. In a morally ambiguous world such as the one in Sin City, there can be no absolute black, absolute white. Each of the characters is dirty in his or her own way, fucked up and fucked over by the corrupt systems that, ironically, keep them in existence. When color comes in Sin City, you'd better be warned--whether it's in a pair of eyes or the red dress of an ill-fated chanteuse, some shit's going to go down.
Sin City is also a genre-bender in that it blends elements of film noir (the gritty city and its femmes fatales) and the crime film (the underworld and questions of redemption & damnation). It takes visual cues from films as disparate as Dryer's silent classic The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Pulp Fiction.
And it is, for the most part, a silent film. Rodriguez smartly capitalizes on the beauty of black and white film, presenting much of the action in close-up shots. The face is never more beautiful than when it is filmed in black and white. Voice-over narration probes into character's thoughts for a nearly uncomfortable amount of time: you do not want to be in these heads, but whever you go in Sin City, there you are.
The cast standouts are easily Jessica Alba, who has facial expressions, and Mickey Rourke. Naturally, former Therapist with a Dream Inside "Dreamboat of the Week" Clive Owen provides drooling sexuality, enough that I nearly had to excuse myself from the theater five or six times. My bf, on the way home, said, "He made me want to rip off all his clothes." Yes. Clive Owen. Yes.
Sin City. Yes.