This is a tar pit. This is the eternal midnight, the thrash metal nocturne. This is some of the most striking black-and-white imagery, half-baroque, half-graffiti, dripping and saturated with lush shadows. This is also empty. The hollowness of it all is a badge of pride for the filmmakers. With Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — like the first Sin City in 2005 — you can't take your eyes off the hyper-stylised fetishism on-screen (or at least off Eva Green's strategically obscured body parts), but you'll find it difficult to remember anything afterwards. This is instant gratification, a hard drug for the eyes.
Eva Green and Josh Brolin in a scene from Sin City: A Dame To Kill For .
In the story department, things are pedestrian, even lazy. The obvious stratagem of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller — who share a directing credit, though the source came from Miller's comic book series — is to skirt the border between homage and parody, between blind devotion and self-knowledge, meanwhile using visual artifices to elevate the entire experience. I don't think it works as well here as it did in the first instalment, not because of the technique, which is even more polished, but because the fashion of high trash, of upgrading low-brow, hard-boiled pulp into high-end pornography isn't as fresh as it was in the mid-2000s. This new Sin City feels like an overwrought exercise.
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