I read Frank Miller’s Sin City recently and while I found the art and graphic quality of the works interesting, I was never really grabbed by the stories. I found the film adaptation just odd.
The writing and acting aspire to classic noir. The visuals aspire to Miller’s rhythmic, psychologically jagged and electric blackness. But Sin City the film is all posture and no drama, all look and bored actors. It captures the look but goes flat from first to last gun shot. It takes a special kind of writing and image-making to pull off The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep. There’s also a form problem here. While the filmic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen suffered from an authenticity crisis, Sin City never really finds a good reason for being a film.
When dealing with film adaptations of literature we are always left muttering, “the book was better.” The films can never hold up to the books because they almost always take liberties with the story. I agree that the level of literary authenticity in this film is unmatched, but I would argue that the visual aspect of it is just as authentic. This films’ ability to capture the look of Millers’ books makes it a valid cinematic effort. It is a series of comic panels set in motion. Perhaps it’s greatest reason for being a film is to build a larger audience for graphic novels. This film made people question thier notion of what a comic book is. The world needs to know it’s not all spandex and heroism in these pages. There’s bullets, decapitations and caniabism too.
Comic book pages are the last battlefields of true freedom of speech, it’s nice to see one of them presented to the masses uncensored, without being “adapted” to protect the innocent.
I came across you in the most round about way. I’m settling in now for a leisurely look about.