Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

(R) Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller return to Sin City for the first time since 2005 with a slighter (in narrative and running time) but equally stylistic film. The familiar ugly mugs of Marv (Mickey Rourke, the movie’s craggy, muscled heart), Senator Rourke (MVP Powers Boothe) and Hartigan (Bruce Willis), and the pretty faces of Nancy (Jessica Alba) and Gail (Rosario Dawson), return to bridge the lengthy gap between the two movies. As in the first flick, several stories intersect. Fresh-faced Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) returns to Sin City to beat Senator Rourke, whom Nancy plots to kill. The violent heart of Dwight (Josh Brolin, effectively replacing Clive Owen) gets twisted by an old flame, femme fatale Ava (Eva Green, who’s unclothed more than clothed). Bar regular Marv simply beats up every bad body that deserves it. Heavy on voiceover, like the pulpy novels and films it emulates, Sin City: ADTKF accomplishes its central goal of being an entertaining, overly visual exercise in style. Few films look like Rodriguez and Miller’s feverish dream, and it certainly will not please every moviegoer. The film is more about the composition of tableaux identical to those in the pages of Miller’s comic. A perfect film might marry style and narrative; oftentimes, a successful film only needs to master one.