Sin City translates the cool swagger and ultra-violence of Frank Miller's graphic novels to the screen with amazing faithfulness. Miller himself is co-director with Robert Rodriguez, who's already established his knack for atmospheric filmmaking.
Appearing some 50 years after the heyday of film noir -- that dark 1940s and '50s genre that specialized in urban crime, corruption and hopelessness -- Sin City is ultimate film noir. The mood in the mostly black-and-white drama is grimmer than Baton Rouge after an LSU Tigers football loss.
Basin City, aka Sin City, is under the cruel heels of an unholy trinity of corruption. The cops, the clergy and a federal senator rule the town without mercy.
But there's still one good cop. Bruce Willis, in the ideal Willis role, is the soft-hearted Hartigan. Being such an anachronism, it's amazing that he's still on the force, still alive. Even though Hartigan's on the verge of retirement and suffering from a bad heart, he throws himself into one more dangerous mission.
Hartigan and his partner find the rapist-murderer who's abducted 11-year-old Nancy.
Despite his square jaw and iconic stance -- shown in dramatic comic-book style -- this cop is the humblest of heroes, a principled everyman who'd never let himself be called a hero. Of course, Hartigan also knows that good guys die in Sin City.
Using all of his remaining strength, Hartigan rescues little Nancy, but his subsequent pursuit of her would-be killer goes wrong. "You know who I am!" the young man shouts. "You know who my father is!" Hartigan doesn't care if the monster is a senator's son, but, too bad for this good cop, power turns wrong into right.
In the cleverly stylized Sin City, the elegant silver tones of classic film noir meet the dramatic contrast of Miller's...