Sin City (2005) 
Blu-ray Mystery-Suspense
Written by Noah Fleming   
Monday, 20 April 2009

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In the last several years the film industry was rocked by the fad of graphic novel films.  As video games become more and more popular as well as graphic novels, films are being used to adapt the original media.  In 2005, "Sin City" was a smash hit, but not for everyone.

The film is structured like a graphic novel.  In the end all the story lines make sense and are interconnected.  However, throughout the film the stories jump from one arena to another.  It is a style of filming that is well received by video game lovers and comic book readers.  However, the majority of people did not understand the concept and were left scratching their heads.  Looking beyond that, the film is actually remarkable.

The film boasts a stellar cast.  Each segment has one male and one female lead actor.  One segment stars Mickey Rourke and Carla Gugino.  Another segment stars Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba.  Lastly, there is a segment starring Clive Owen and Rosario Dawson.  Other cast members include Devon Aoki, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan and Brittany Murphy.  The cast is superb.  Every character is finely tuned.

The first deals with Detective Hartigan (Bruce Willis) who is on the prowl for Roark Jr. a child rapist.  He has in his custody a 10 year-old girl, Nancy.  After stopping Roark Jr., Hartigan is betrayed by his partner and sent to prison.  Roark Jr.'s father is a powerful Senator that is able to rig the game.

The second segment stars Mickey Rourke as Marv, a huge man that has some odd facial features.  He is kept company by Goldie (Jaime King), a prostitute.  She is murdered right beside him by a stealthy psycho, Kevin (Elijah Wood).  The police are after him, but he is able to sneak to his parole officer's residence, Lucille (Carl Gugino).  Marv is out for revenge on Kevin for the murder of Goldie.  Kevin turns out to be a true freak that eats humans as well.

The third segment is about Dwight (Clive Owen) who has started a relationship with Shellie (Brittany Murphy).  Her other boyfriend, Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) gets into trouble in Old Town, a prostitute run arena.  Lead prostitute is Gail (Rosario Dawson), who also happens to be an ex-lover of Dwight.  Bloodshed ensues and the mob starts to infiltrate Old Town.

Each of these segments continues in pieces, interwoven together.  The entire film is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, and he assists in the directing of this film.  Robert Rodriguez directed "Desperado" and "From Dusk Till Dawn."  Another guest director is Quentin Tarantino.  The three of them create a powerful film comprised of fantastic acting and a tightly knit story.

My only concern with this graphic novel film is the amount of graphic violence.  It becomes really unbearable during segments.  It is strongly recommended that none under 18 view this film.

The video quality is an AVC MPEG-4 transfer.  In true graphic novel style, the film is black and white with the primary colors shining bright, particularly reds and yellows.  As you can guess, the black level is hugely important in this film, as is the contrast level.  Lucky for us, both are superb.  There is no crushing in the deep blacks.  Shadow delineation is terrific.  The balance between the contrast and brightness is pitch perfect.  There is not a single speck of film grain, especially since the film was shot entirely digitally.  The reds are powerful with no chroma bleed.  The same applies to the yellows.  Details are also impressive.  Despite the black and white sequences, details still shine in the costumes and scenery.  Every scene is extremely sharp, without any edge artifacting.  There are volumes of information on the cinematic production of this film offered in the audio commentaries.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The audio track is just as impressive as the video.  The most ear-popping feature is the dialogue.  I have never heard such a full range dialogue track.  The depth of Mickey Rourke's voice is excellent.  You can hear every bit of vocal fry in his voice.  There is no issue with the audibility of the dialogue track.  It is well balanced among the music and sound effects.  Speaking of the music, it is composed by Robert Rodriguez, who like Tarantino, likes to do the music for his films.  Sound effects are full range.  The clarity of the effects is surprisingly realistic.  The rear channels are used effectively.  They are not expansive, but they are well controlled from front to back.  This is an excellent track that will make the quality of other Blu-ray audio tracks sound like Dolby Digital.

This Blu-ray release comes in a 2-disc extended edition.  The first disc contains the theatrical cut of the film along with some of the special features.  The Cine-Explore feature is most impressive.  It gives you an elaborate picture-in-picture function.  While watching the film you get the Rich and Frank audio commentary while also seeing the graphic novel and green screen footage of the filmmaking process.  This is a terrific supplement that has to be seen if you are a film fanatic.  There are two audio commentary tracks.  The first track contains a commentary with Rich Rodriguez and Frank Miller.  This is a terrifically entertaining commentary.  The second audio commentary is with Rich Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.  The last supplement on the first disc is an audio track with audience reactions.  This was presented on the special DVD edition of the film, but isn't really worth a look.

The second disc contains the recut, extended, unrated edition of the film.  This edition contains 23 minutes of more footage.  This was presented as well in the 3-disc DVD edition.  It is a must for fans of the film.  "Kill 'Em Good" is an interactive comic book.  There is a section of Rodriguez special features.  This section includes: "15-minute Film School," "All Green-Screen Version," "The Long Take," "'Sin City:' Live In Concert" and "10-minute Cooking School."  "How It went Down: Convincing Frank Miller to Make the Film" contains interviews with Miller and Rodriguez.  "Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino" looks at Tarantino's part in the filmmaking process.  "A Hard Top With a Decent Engine: The Cars of 'Sin City'" is exactly what the title indicates.  "Booze, Broads and Guns: The Props of 'Sin City'" is also exactly what the title indicates.  "Making the Monsters: Special Effects Make-Up" takes a look at actor's make-up sessions.  "Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes of 'Sin City'" is obviously about the costumes.  Lastly, there is a Teaser and Theatrical Trailer. 

"Sin City" is a terrific film, minus the gore and guts.  It is a highly original filmmaking style.  Despite the gag reflex of the first film, I am inclined to see the sequel being released in 2010.  The video and audio quality is outstanding, a huge upgrade from the standard DVD editions.  If you can stomach it, I highly recommend this film.
Studio Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating R
Starring Jessica Alba, Devon Aoki, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, Rutger Hauer, Josh Harnett, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Michael Madsen, Clive Owen, Brittany Murphy
Director Rich Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino
Film Release Year 2005
Release Year 2009
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080p (supplements) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Running Time 2 hr. 4 mins., 2 hr. 27 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • Spanish
Special Features Cine-Explore; 2 Directors Audio Commentaries; Audience Audio Commentary; "Kill 'Em Good" Comic Book; "15-Minute Film School"; "All Green-Screen Version"; "The Long Take"; "'Sin City:' Live In Concert"; "10-Minute Cooking School"; "How It Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller To Make the Film"; "Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino"; "A Hard Top With A Decent Engine: The Cars of 'Sin City'"; "Booze, Broads And Guns: The Props of 'Sin City'"; "Making the Monsters: Special Effects Make-Up"; "Trench Coast & Fishnets: The Costumes of 'Sin City'"; Teaser and Theatrical Trailers; Recut/Unrated Version
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Reviewer Noah Fleming

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