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Revisiting and Reviewing ‘Sin City’ 15 Years Later

6 min read

It’s no secret that comic book films have taken over the big screen. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has produced great films like Ironman, Avengers, and Captain America, just to name a few. The DC Extended Universe has also contributed by bringing Man Of Steel, Batman vs Superman and Wonder Woman, among others. The age of the superhero genre has never thrived more. This, however, has made things a bit redundant and has left me a little less than enthused for newer films of the same caliber.

Still there has been a few films that standout their ability to bring a uniqueness that keeps their viewers entertained. For example, 2019’s R-rated film the Joker starring the talented Joaquin Phoenix was a gripping psychological thriller about Batman’s greatest foe, or even 2018’s violent comedy Deadpool with Ryan Reynold‘s reprising the role. While an R-rating isn’t a necessity for great storytelling, it does make the film a bit more exclusive to older fans. So when given the chance to revisit Sin City 15 years later, lets just say the the excitement was welcomed.

Named after Frank Miller’s Eisner winning graphic novel, Sin City the movie, which Frank Miller co-directed with Robert Rodriguez, hit the big screen back in 2005, and with it brought a true visual masterpiece of what a live action comic book should look like.


The search for Little Nancy Cahallan

In his final hour, on his last working day, Detective John Haritgan (Bruce Willis) has a lot on his mind before his retirement, but nothing comes close to finding little Nancy Callahan (McKenzie Vega, later to be played as Jessica Alba). Her captor is known as a sexual sadist, that takes pleasure in abusing and slashing his victims. The son of a powerful senator, Hartigan will stop at nothing to free 11 year old Nancy from the clutches of this deranged lunatic.

Hartigan’s partner Bob, tries to convince him not to take action.

“Damn it, Hartigan, I won’t let you do this, You’re gonna get yourself killed. You’re gonna get us both killed. I won’t let you. I’m warning you.”

“Let go of my coat Bob, We’ll just wait. Sit on our hands while that Roark brat get’s his sick thrills with victim number four.”

Determined to save Nancy, Hartigan delivers a knock out punch to his soon to be ex-partner and comes to the realization that she may already be dead or on the verge of it. Either way Hartigan is going to stop this monster and save Nancy.

For Goldie

Known for his massive physique, his brutal ferocity, and his hotheaded temper, Marv (Mickey Rourke) couldn’t understand why this goddess would ever tell him that she wants him, knowing that it can’t be all too true, he gives up questioning it and gives into desire.

“I’m not gonna waste one more second wondering how I’ve gotten so lucky.”

“Goldie. She says her name is Goldie”.

Marv narrates

After a night of intimacy, Marv wakes up to Goldie (Jamie King) dead. She’s been killed right by his side, and now he’s stuck to question who she really was, or who would want to hurt her? Marv takes it upon his self to find the one one responsible.

Marv takes on the world for revenge

“ I don’t know why and I don’t how. I never even met you before tonight. But you were a friend and more when I need one. And when I find out who did it, it won’t be quick and quiet like it was with you. It’ll be loud and nasty- – My kind of kill. And when his eyes go dead, the hell I send him to will seem like heaven after what I’ve done to him. I love you Goldie.”

Marv’s Vow
New Face, New Purpose

With a new face, Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen) has come back to Basin City. His first action is to reconnect with old flame Shellie (Brittany Murphy). While in her home, Shellie’s current and abusive boyfriend, Jack (Benicio Del Torro), comes a knocking looking for a good time for him and his boys. As Shellie urges Jack to go away, and she encourages Dwight to leave for these aren’t the men he would want to mess with. Dwight of course doesn’t fear them and tells her to let them in.

Dwight first interaction with Jack

“Hello, I’m Shellie’s new boyfriend and I’m out of my mind. If you so much as talk to her or even think her name, I’ll cut you in ways that’ll make you useless to a woman.”

Dwight offers Jack advice

Even though the tactic works and Jack and his goons flea, Dwight knows trouble will follow and takes it upon himself to stop him no matter what cost.

“This guy, he’s a menace. He might kill somebody if I don’t stop him”

Dwight speaking to Shellie

“It’s a chance I shouldn’t be taking, but I can’t just go home and forget about it, and let Jackie Boy and his pals find their fun. They’re a pack of predators and they’re out for blood tonight, a woman’s blood.”

Dwights narrated conviction


Even with the 15 year old difference between today‘s technological advances in special effects, Sin City still hold up as a top contender. Directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez use a true to comic Neo-noir style. Sin City is a predominantly black and white movie, where pops of color are added in which makes the film visually appealing and dynamic. An example of this brilliant filmmaking is Marv’s encounter with Goldie (who is shown in color along with the red satin bed sheets she is draped in).

Sin City’s hidden gem is the use of three different character narrations. The stories of Hartigan, Marv, and Dwight all represent the dark ties that lurk in Basin City and subsequently exhibits how everyone is somehow connected. For instance, Hartigan’s story begins eight years before Marv’s and Dwight’s, but he later intertwines with Marv when he encounters Goldie’s killer at “ the farm”. Dwight on the other is placed in the same bar scene with Marv and even mentions a thought about him in his narrative. With these different storylines Sin City isn’t your typical film about one hero facing the clutches of evil. Instead it is about three different men chasing three different evils and how their journeys bring them together.

Visually Sin City already grabs yours attention, but it wouldn’t be such a fantastic movie without having its all star cast. Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller did a superb job in not only focusing on the major roles, but as well as the supporting ones.

I can 100 percent, without a doubt say, that Sin City is one of the best comic book adaptations out there and has already stood the test of time.

Have you seen Sin City or rewatched it recently? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts over on the comment section on our website. Also don’t forget to download the Kernel App to stay up to date on reviews, originals, trailers, and our weekly podcast. You can also find Kernel on Twitter and Instagram. Till next time stay safe, stay positive and read comics. 

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