Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin city: A Dame to Kill For

My father's motto was "you don't have to lie, but you don't have to tell them everything you know, either." It was a lesson that he learned the hard way as an atheist in the Bible belt, and having that drilled into me at a young age has saved me from a lot of headaches. I tend to be scrupulous about telling the truth, but I have definitely lied by omission in job interviews and I've definitely bitten by tongue just to avoid arguments I didn't want to have. It's a lot easier to be a good party guest if you know which opinions you don't necessarily have to share.

Here's the truth about Sin City: A Dame To Kill For: I felt about it the same way that Deep Blue Something felt about Breakfast at Tiffany's: as I recall, I think I kind of liked it? If that sounds a bit like a hedged bet, well, there's a reason. There's a lot about this ode to pulpy crime stories that's frustrating: the all-hardboiled-all-the-time dialogue is gimmicky and overwritten, the different vignettes that make up it's plot are repetitive instead of complimentary, and the film's structure is pretty much a mess. At the same time there's definitely stuff in it I liked: co-director Frank Miller's sense of composition is still great, I will always enjoy Eva Green as a femme fatale, and I'm not above enjoying a movie that leans hard on sex and violence. Average out all those pros and cons and you end up with "I think I kind of liked it."

Sin City A Shame to Kill For

But if I was out at a party and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For came up, I'm not sure that I would endorse it even that much, because it is legitimately troubling that every single woman (and I do mean every single woman) in this movie is a murderous whore. I might defend the film if it had a few overly sexualized characters, but at a certain point the pathological focus on double crossing dames becomes too excessive to be a legitimately defensible artistic choice. On a personal level, I can kind of look past it because all the men in the movie are murderous brutes, so at least it's an equal opportunity offender. But I wouldn't ever want to argue that point in public, because that argument automatically cedes the moral high ground, and I wouldn't want to get lumped in with all the douchebags who don't understand why such reductive portraits of women can be troubling.

I also wouldn't want to talk about this movie with someone who was really into it. There's something bleak and angry about Frank Miller's worldview that would make me suspicious of anyone who put a lot of stock into it. Sure, the film has it's aesthetic charms, and I can understand enjoying it, but it's one of those things that you can't enjoy too much without looking like you've co-signed on a sketchy value system.

It's tricky to write about a movie like this. I don't want to pretend that I don't see what's wrong with the way it portrays women, but I also don't want to lie and pretend that I don't understand why looking at beautiful women in sexual contexts is fun. Mostly, what I'd like to do is just keep the fact that I saw this to myself, that way I don't have to expose myself as either a pervert or a killjoy. Of course, it's a little late in this review to do that., but now that I've learned my lesson I will keep it in mind in case there's a Sin City 3.

Winner: Draw

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For on IMDB