(Recut, Extended, Unrated
by Ian Dawe
19 , 2005
| I'm a sucker for movies that create a world -
one with dimensions and shadows and light and everything in between.
Even if the story is particularly compelling, I can be drawn in
on the strength of a fully realized milieu. Sin City is
one of those movies where the world is larger than the characters
- larger, even, than the story. That's one of the reasons why
I found it such a fascinating, beguiling piece of filmmaking and
the best reason to get this new "Recut and Extended Edition"
Based on the famous comic book by the legendary Frank Miller,
the film takes us through four stories from this dark city. Director
Robert Rodriguez wisely employed Miller himself early on in pre-production
and film has a patina that not only does justice to the book,
it deepens and enriches an already deep and rich world. Sin
City is a heightened, stylized mythic place, right out of
American popular culture, combining elements of film noir and
German expressionism with a daring, violent sexuality not seen
since A Clockwork Orange. It's always raining or snowing
in Sin City, always replete with long shadows and deep
The characters that inhabit this world are no less dark and shadowy.
Crime, violence, murder and corruption are the order of the day.
No character in this world is good, although many are bad and
ugly. Marv (Mickey Rourke at a career high) is a tough Frankenstein-esque
monster, bent on avenging the death of a hooker who showed him
a slice of heaven in the episode entitled "The Hard Goodbye".
Hartigan (Bruce Willis) is an honest cop in a dishonest world,
entangled in a violent, ugly web in "That Yellow Bastard".
Dwight (Clive Owen) is a murderer with a new face hiding bodies
in a tar pond while defending a city of whores in "The Big,
If my description makes Sin City sound episodic, it is
- Miller wrote it that way. Rodriguez's theatrical version of
the film wove all three stories (plus a fourth vignette) together
in two hours. The great thing about this DVD is that you have
the choice of viewing the movie that way, or watching the four
episodes separately, each re-cut with additional footage not in
the theatrical release. While that may seem to run contrary to
the notion of an "extended cut", it honours the spirit
of the comics.
Honouring that comic book spirit is what the movie is all about.
Rodriguez shot the film on digital video against mostly green
screen and then added black and white backgrounds to his actors
that perfectly re-creates the look and feel of Miller's stark
vision. On DVD, the digital video looks flawless, making the experience
all the more absorbing. A sequel is in the works, but of course
that was always a given. These stories are only four of the many
that can be told in this world. Let's hope Rodriguez and Miller
get a chance to tell them all.
In addition to the re-thought story structure, the DVD has many
other extras, such as two separate commentary track on the original
theatrical release, one by Rodriguez and Miller and the other
by Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (who actually directed one
of the scenes in "The Big Fat Kill"). Another unique
audio option is an "audience track", which captures
the sounds of a theatrical audience reacting to the film with
you. It's an interesting approach, and cleverly simulates the
theatrical experience. There's also a handful of featurettes,
but the best special feature by far of the set is the inclusion
of a trade paperback version of Frank Miller's "The Hard
Goodbye" comic book, almost worth the price of admission
on its own.
There's rarely been a better DVD set than this one - add it to
your must have list.
freelance writer and longtime film enthusiast, Ian
Dawe is now completing a Master's Degree in Film History.
He currently teaches at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British