One for the sin bin

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM - DON­ALD CLARKE

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

★★ Di­rected by Robert Ro­driguez and Frank Miller. Star­ring Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Jes­sica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Le­vitt, Bruce Wil­lis, Pow­ers Boothe, Ray Liotta, Lady Gaga 16 cert, 102 min

Lights down. Blood on the moon. The screen blows up like a hooker’s Christ­mas tree dur­ing a Septem­ber power surge. Here’s Ro­driguez and Miller hopped up on comic books and raw cel­lu­loid. It’s been nine long years, and a stench of death mixes with the ratty waves of des­per­a­tion. Th­ese guys are go­ing down.

And so forth. Robert Ro­driguez’ first take on Frank Miller’s sub-noir comic strip passed the time grue­somely enough. The sto­ries were quite nippy enough and the waves of pas­tiche played them­selves out be­fore they out­stayed their wel­come. The ef­forts to evade ac­cu­sa­tions of misog­yny via Ama­zon as­saults – look, some women are homi­ci­dal too! – stim­u­lated more amuse­ment than of­fense.

Nearly a decade later, the fol­low-up seems dread­fully short of orig­i­nal en­er­gies. More than any­thing else, one is re­minded of those an­cient TV com­mer­cials for Sil­ver- mints. Like Steve Sil­ver­mint – the “cool, clean hero” – Bruce Wil­lis Josh Brolin and Mickey Rourke in­habit a world that ap­pears to be con­structed by peo­ple who once talked to some­body who’d seen a film noir, but who have never ac­tu­ally viewed one them­selves. The ef­forts to ape the look of Miller’s comics are cer­tainly suc­cess­ful. But what’s the point of that?

The only per­son who does come out of the ex­er­cise with pride in­tact – par­tic­u­larly good news, given the amount of gra­tu­itous nu­dity un­der­gone – is the re­li­ably charis­matic and fear­somely an­gu­lar Eva Green. More a force of na­ture than an ac­tor, she does enough as the tit­u­lar dame to make it im­per­a­tive that some­body put her in a worth­while neo-noir some­time soon.

Eva Green has the an­gry heart of a wolver­ine and the cold, des­per­ate eyes of a rat­tlesnake trapped in bour­bon bot­tle. Get out be­fore the sun hits the blood-drenched sky­line. Blah, blah, blah!

Broadly speak­ing: Eva Green

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