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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Ha! I just kill me. Anyway, E and I watched Frank Miller's Sin City last night. I wonder just what I was thinking bringing my pacifist, Buddhist wife to watch it with me. Hers isn't a world that can accept even characterizations of brutal and depraved male anti-heroes. Or of brutal and depraved women whose only escape from exploitation and brutality is to harness their exploitation and become as brutal and depraved as the men around them. To her, it's not a world to be portrayed in graphic novels, let alone the silver screen, even if it just the worst part of a single city.

A frame-by-frame, faithful retelling of one of the most influential comic books in recent decades? Yes. A victory for artists against big corporate interests who would strip-mine (and often water down) an intellectual property in order to make the most bucks possible rather than respect its integrity? Probably. An excuse for the things that are objectionable because:
  • ...it's just a comic book?
  • ...it's a masterpiece in the tradition of film noir?
  • ...it's a testament to the work that so much A-list talent were willing to work on the project?
  • ...it's a gritty and unforgiving look at the darkness within the human soul and how sometimes you need to use it in order to fight it?

Before you answer, let's take another look at those bullet points translated in the "Common tongue" of some supporters.

  • "Ooh, Frank-freakin'-Miller and Robert Rodriguez! Ain't gonna be no nipples-on-the-batsuits here!"
  • "They were SOO faithful to the characters and style of the graphic novels! What else could possibly matter? God, it was like Marv was lifted from the comic right onto the screen!"
  • "See? If Bruce Willis and Benicio del Toro are into this stuff, then I must be as cool as they are!"
  • "Sure, most of the women were whores, but, would you mess with any of them? And, sure, Dwight did hit Gail, who kissed him. But, he did ask her nice to get that uzi out of his face... twice!"

And, maybe that's the problem. Stop at those levels, and it's easy to love this movie. I did. It IS a masterpiece. This movie is the new standard according to which every future comic book movie will be judged.

But, is that a good thing?
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