Sin City

Sin never had it so good. The wicked union of pessimistic penman (Mr. Miller) and hyperbolic hipster (Mr. Rodriguez) elevates Sin City from trite translation to darkly brilliant and brutal noir, melding the anti-gravity of cartoon and the heavy-foot of pulp. Mickey Rourke plays Marv, a bulletproof bruiser who's tougher than a two-dollar steak. When a prostitute he favors is murdered, off he goes on an orgiastic revenge rollick. Body parts part and blood flows in arterial excess, but in this graphically novel vision of sapped color and comic prosthetics, blood spatters are nothing more than fluorescent globules in a hardboiled action painting. Miller's disturbing cesspool of characters is all here: Elijah Wood, the taciturn cannibal; Benicio del Toro, the creepy cop, and his chivalric counterpart, Bruce Willis; Jessica Alba, the stripper who never takes it off; and Rosario Dawson, the straight-shootin' streetwalker. But it's not Miller's menagerie that makes Sin City such a guilty pleasure; it's the delirious atmosphere of this maniacally rendered burg.

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