Sin City

Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Hmmmm ... nasty. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's Sin City is a flagrant pulp noir, a deeply unwholesome guignol fantasy based on Miller's graphic novels, populated by cops and tough guys eagerly fighting in the war on paedophilia, sadism and general wrongdoing, but often on the wrong side. The movie's opening credits holler that it has been "shot and cut" by Robert Rodriguez, making it sound like a serial killer's umpteenth victim. I first saw it at Cannes, in a bleary, jaded mood at the tail-end of the week, and found myself unresponsive. The sheer brilliance of the movie's style, however, has to be conceded on a second viewing.

Sin City is set in a retro-future urban sprawl with a forested hinterland in which creepy blade-toting sickos turn innocent people into tagliatelli - a quasi-LA from both the 1940s and the present day, with automobiles of confusingly various vintage zooming up and down its pitch-black highways. People have cellphones, but the men unselfconsciously use the quaint term "dames".
Everything is constructed digitally and composed in a starkly defined monochrome on which splashes of lurid colour show up like wounds. Someone's eyes, or their lips, or their sneakers, or more probably their blood, are lividly painted on to the Weegee-photo-style black and white. Rodriguez splatters that claret around like Jackson Pollock, but sometimes it's not red but an expressionist molten yellow, and often a gunshot wound will show up glowing white, as if transformed into a splodge of radioactive birdcrap.
The action breaks down into three stories, the first and third creepily echoing each other's tale of an older man having a fascination for a younger woman who in turn has a deeply improbable tendresse for him. Under a massive facial prosthetic - almost certainly not a postmodern joke at the expense of his own cosmetic surgery - Mickey Rourke plays Marv, an ugly tough guy. He's the beast whose beauty is a prostitute who takes pity on him and gives him the night of his life, gratis. But she is killed by a psycho with a disturbing resemblance to Spiderman's alter ego, Peter Parker, and enraged by the subsequent cover-up involving politicians, cops and even the church, Marv goes on an orgiastic killing spree in the name of vengeance.
Marv's counterpart is Hartigan, a police officer on the verge of retirement played by Bruce Willis, who like Marv is on medication, in his case for an ironically failing heart. On his last day on the job, Hartigan submits to a three-quarter-life crisis and throws away the rule book in his grim determination to nail a crazed madman. Exactly like Marv's enemy, this vicious killer is a well-connected little punk, and like Marv, the righteous Hartigan gets a frame-up and a jail sentence. But the person whom Hartigan is trying to save is an 11-year-old girl who in a very queasy scene thanks her protector for saving her life and her virginity and grows up to be a slinky babe, played by Jessica Alba, who sets about seducing him.
Are these mirror-image tales intended to offer ironic perspectives on each other? Or does Frank Miller just have a very limited number of ideas that turn him on? Either way, Marv and Hartigan's lives are more interesting than the middle storyline, in which toughly laconic Dwight (Clive Owen) makes common cause with the pouting prostitutes of Sin City, who are all martial arts specialists, led by Rosario Dawson, against a corrupt cop played by Benicio Del Toro. On first viewing, the hookers looked like a boy's-own porn fantasy. Maybe porn nightmare is closer to the mark. Either way, these attack-mode lingerie models certainly hold their own with the menfolk in the mayhem department. But the effect is silly and tacky rather than scary or sexy.
And, sadly, it is within this weak section that Rodriguez's friend and admirer Quentin Tarantino guest-directs a segment, showing Owen having to drive along with a corpse in the front passenger seat. It is a weak echo of the ghastly auto-accident of Pulp Fiction. Moreover, there is no one in this film, man or woman, with the charisma of Uma Thurman's avenger in Tarantino's magnificent Kill Bill movies, which, however bizarre, had a life of their own, whereas Sin City has a borrowed life of someone else's. The comic-book style, the stark framing, the Runyonesque dialogue, the hallucinatory design and strange mix of heartless gore and choked-up sentiment are all meticulously imitated rather than lived. There is, in the movie world, a bit of a cultural cringe at the moment to the idea of ultra-cool graphic novels as source material. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell didn't work out. Sin City is certainly better, but not by that much.
Rodriguez himself has certainly come a long way since the no-budget debut triumph of El Mariachi in 1992. He is now the maestro of the blue-screen, getting his performers to strut their stuff in a void - and with some auteurist dash he produces, edits, photographs and even composes the score. Probably only he could have brazened out this geekily hi-tech adventure into the male dark side, but it would be good to see him make a movie with recognisably human dimensions.

auteurist- reżyser o niepowtarzalnym autorskim stylu
avenger- mściciel
bizarre- groteskowy, dziwaczny
bleary- zaćmiony, załzawiony
brazen out- zachowywać się cynicznie
choked-up- zatkany
claret- bordo
concede- przyznać, uznać
counterpart- odpowiednik
cover-up- ukrywanie, tuszowanie
cringe- kulić się, płaszczyć się
dash- odrobina; pociągnięcie ołówkiem
either way- w każdym razie, tak czy siak
flagrant- skandaliczny, skandalizujący, rażący
frame-up- przypisywanie winy
framing- szkielet, obramowanie
geekily- obrzydliwie i dziwacznie
gore- rozlana krew
guignol- kukiełka
hallucinatory- halucynogenny
holler- wrzeszczeć, awanturować się
hooker- dziwka
jaded- znużony
lingerie- bielizna damska
mayhem- chaos, zamieszanie
meticulously- skrupulatnie
molten- roztopiony
nail- przydybać, przygwoździć
on the verge of- na skraju, blisko
pout- wydymać wargi
pulp noir- “czarna” papka ( o filmie, książce )
quaint- ciekawy, atrakcyjny
queasy- powodujący mdłości
seduce- uwodzić
set about- brać się za coś
slinky- seksowny
splatter- obryzgiwać, bryzgać
splodge- duża plama
sprawl- teren luźno I chaotycznie zabudowany
stark- surowy
strut- dumnie kroczyć
tacky- lepki, tandetny, nieciekawy
tendresse- czułość
umpteenth- któryś raz z rzędu
unresponsive- obojętny
unwholesome- szkodliwy dla zdrowia; niezdrowy, nienaturalny
vengeance- zemsta

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