Frank Miller's Sin City
****/**** Image A Sound A Extras A
starring Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen
screenplay by Robert Rodriguez, based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller
directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
by Walter Chaw Until Frank Miller's Sin City (hereafter Sin City), maverick Mexican director Robert Rodriguez frustrated the hell out of me: here's this guy with all the talent in the world--an eye, an ear, an internal metronome as unerring as a clock tick--making incoherent movies literally without finished screenplays. Falling off high wires without nets and trying to look cool doing it--it ain't smooth, man, it's arrogance and it's misplaced. I thought he'd spent himself on flotsam like the last two Spy Kids flicks, thought he'd really screwed the pooch on a fiasco like Once Upon a Time In Mexico, on which he mistook Sergio Leone's formalist genre Diaspora for a mess of ideas trailing camera flourishes. But here, right before he unleashes some 3-D thing about a shark boy, Rodriguez slides in a movie for which he resigned from the Directors' Guild of America just so he could credit comic book legend Frank Miller as his co-director. Here, in Sin City, is what Robert Rodriguez can do with brutal, draconian structure (what's harsher than the cell of a comic-book panel?); here, finally, is productive fruit from his reputation as a rebel without a crew. Here's Sin City down low, on the QT, and very, hush hush: the most anti-Hollywood Hollywood picture since Kill Bill, and a film that, likewise, feels like some kind of miracle it was ever produced, much less released.