Star-studded comic book film redefines the term graphic

“Sin City” has been highly anticipated since talk of its release first began. Adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, “Sin City” has an extremely large cast of well-known actors and a unique and innovative style of filmmaking that makes it one of the most important films released this year.

The film follows three main storylines, each with a male protagonist. The storylines are linked with one another (the connections become clearer toward the end of the film), yet the protagonists do not actually meet up with one another. The film incorporates many horrors, including (but certainly not limited to) cannibalism, murder, mutilation and beheadings.

“Sin City” combines the classic elements of film noir – black and white film, voice over, dark, rainy nights and more than one femme fatale – with the comic book look of the graphic novel. The film is shot in black and white, with only certain objects shown in color. With such a little amount of color in the film, the times when it is used are often quite breathtaking. Be it blue eyes, blood or golden hair, the effect is startling. “Sin City” is a visual success; its style is much more necessary to the film than its content.

“Sin City” is directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez began his career with the film “El Mariachi,” and he has since directed “Desperado,” “Spy Kids” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” among others. He has been a pioneer in the film industry, often choosing to shoot in digital video and doing much of his work from his home equipment.

With Miller involved in every aspect of the filming, “Sin City” is as true an adaptation as one can get. Rodriguez insisted, despite discouragement from the Directors Guild of America (DGA), that Miller be listed as co-director of the film. (Rodriguez has since resigned from the DGA over the matter.) Quentin Tarantino, who has been close with Rodriguez for some time, stepped in as a special guest director, contributing one sequence to the film.

The film is very well acted, as one would expect from the strength of the cast. For me, it was Clive Owen who stood out most as the character Dwight. He is extremely charismatic and the black and white only magnifies his strong screen presence.

Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke also deliver terrific performances as the other two male protagonists. Benicio Del Toro is almost unrecognizable as the character Jackie Boy, and Jessica Alba is wonderful as Nancy Callahan. Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, Nick Stahl, Elijah Wood, Alexis Bledel and Josh Hartnett, among many others, make up the rest of the cast. Miller also acts in the film, taking on the role of a priest.

Despite the film’s often gruesome and violent nature, it is still a pleasure to watch. Even without much color, the picture is vivid and full of energy. It takes risks and is rewarded for doing so. “Sin City” is an exceptional film with an uncompromised vision. The city the film portrays is not one I would ever want to visit, but the film is something I can see myself revisiting again and again.