Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Winner for Sinners; Noir Is Cynically Sexual and Bleak but Colourful

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Winner for Sinners; Noir Is Cynically Sexual and Bleak but Colourful

Article excerpt


Sin City

Cert 18, 124 mins .....

SIN CITY is a virtuoso piece of filmmaking. Robert Rodriguez has translated writer-artist Frank Miller's superhero comics to the screen with ingenuity and accuracy.

The cast manoeuvres around brilliant computer-generated artwork, rather than traditional sets.

The black-and-white photography is illuminated by splashes of lurid colour.

Miller's stylised fantasy world draws on film noir and cyber-punk science fiction and seems to be torn from the books. If looks could kill, Sin City would be a masterpiece.

But it isn't. It is too long and repetitive and leaves a brackish taste in the mouth. This city is a hellish metropolis that encourages fantastic and, at times, dreamlike violence.

This palls as three hardboiled heroes, faced by depraved villains, survive a thousand cuts and dish out dozens more to protect garish whores who mostly approximate women.

Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Alexis Badel and Jaime King have a hard row to hoe.

The first of the heroes is Hartigan (Bruce Willis), an honest, but sickly and possibly dying cop, the second is ex-con Marv (Mickey Rourke), festooned in prosthetics so you hardly recognise him, and the third is Dwight (Clive Owen), a fugitive with a face changed by plastic surgery.

This tough trio tortures, kills and mutilates painfully.

No, Miller's world is not a feelgood one. In fact, it comes as a relief when guest director Quentin Tarantino contributes an ironic scene in which Owen drives around with Benicio Del Toro's talking corpse - at least there's a bit of a script to listen to.

Rodriguez, who made the excellent El Mariachi and the awful From Dusk Till Dawn, fails to justify the carnage. Never mind that, he seems to say, feel the width. But it's the width that scuppers Sin City, and the lack of any redeeming conclusions.

Deadhead duo's tour of Dublin a tragicomic treat

Adam & Paul

Cert 15, 86 mins

LENNY ABRAHAMSON's film about a daylong odyssey in Dublin of two heroin addicts is deservedly prized in Ireland, where it was an unexpected box-office hit.

We are very unlikely to see Adam & Paul on tourist brochures, but it is brilliantly acted and structured with skill.

Mark Halloran, who also wrote this piece, and Tom Murphy play Adam and Paul, two pathetic deadbeats pining for their next fix; their triumph is to understand the true nature of tragic-comedy without indulging in parody.

Each small sequence on their hopeless journey strikes home: their incompetent attempts at petty theft, the obvious contempt of those who know them and the rough justice they get from almost everybody.

Movies like this escape most filmgoers notice. I hope this doesn't. I have no criticism to make at all. It is simply the best Irish film I've seen in years. …

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