Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sin City

Sin City was exactly the movie it needed to be. I watched it way up close, what would ordinarily be altogether too close, at the Cinerama, so I sat looking up at the whole thing and it was just overwhelming.

Lisa Schwarzbaum's review, and I'm sure most of the negative criticism, missed the point entirely. She says, "But with insistence that the work is produced and directed by Rodriguez and Frank Miller, from text by Frank Miller, with an appearance by Frank Miller as a low-down priest, I've got to wonder how much truer to the pulp-fiction spirit of the books (and thus how much more persuasive an introduction for the uninitiated) the movie might have been had its production team not been stuck in such fawning thrall to the source material... Call me an insensitive non-fangirl, but if the sacred works of Jane Austen can stand up to freewheeling reinterpretation, then so, too, can heavy-breathing pages about trussed-up little girls and a vile-smelling cartoon pervert known as Yellow Bastard."

I agree with the principle she's arguing, but not the usage.

The principle of adapting a work, however, is to begin with what it is drew you to the work and what excites you about the work. The thing that stands out about the "Sin City" books is the visual style. The heavy inks, they stylized angles. So that was the obvious starting place. Everything else proceeds from there.

Those visuals lead the way. Once you've chosen to follow those, the highly stylized dialogue and performance styles are simply coming along for the ride. I know some people can't cope with dialogue and acting that doesn't sound like it came straight out of the mouth of their friends and loved ones, and this will not be the movie for them. But then neither would be any adaptation that came anywhere close capturing to the spirit of Miller's work.

Summoned To Sin City by Peter Sanderson rebuts her patronizing bullshit even better than I do, as well as offering a lot of other nice points.

Having seen the scene play out onscreen I can even understand why they thought Jessica Alba being topless would have been distracting - which fans of Ms. Alba may be interested to note that she said it was explicitly not an unwillingness on her part to expose her bosoms - although I think if she'd been wearing a kind of cowboy vest that hung open as the scene began, it would have solved all the dramatic needs of the scene.

As a fan of the books, I have nitpicks here and there but was amazed at how well they captured the spirit of what I love about the series, and the moments that mattered. I've been thinking about it ever since I left.

Anyway, when is the sequel? I think we need to at least get A Babe To Kill For done. C'mon!

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