Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sin City (2005)

Sin City is a graphic, action packed film, written, produced and directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. It is primarily based on three of his graphic novels: 'The Big Fat Kill', 'The Hard Goodbye' and 'That Yellow Bastard'.

The styling is particualrly unique for a modern day film. It is shot primarily in black and white with a few select objects left in colour. These are either ones of significance in the frame or for gory details such as blood. Sin City is regarded as a 'neo-noir' film as its styling and colouring are heavily influenced by the film-noir period. The image below is an example, showing Alan Ladd in the 1942 film, This Gun For Hire.

Although the film was initially shot in high resolution colour, post production converted it into black and white to increase the contrast and make it appear more like the original comic. This technique adds a stylish and artistic aesthetic which i find extremely successful. Not only is the film entertaining in itself, it is made even better by the unusual, visual experience.

Sin City made use of the Sony HDC-950 high definition digital camera and primarily shot the scenes in front of a green screen to allow for the addition of artificial backdrops and some foreground objects such as cars. This combination makes the film one of
only a few fully digital, live action motion pictures. This technique was also used on another Frank Miller adaption, 300 released in 2006.

The image above shows the green screen technique employed by the film and the selective colorisation seen on the girl's red dress and the red of her lips. I especially like the stylistic impression of movement in the film such as the cars' exaggerated jumps over bumps in the road and the fall of rain, which is apparent in the image below.

The effect of high contrast black and white in the film is remarkable and fairly risky when producing for an audience used to high definition colour. The most extensive use of colour in the film is focussed on Roark Junior aka. That Yellow Bastard, played by Nick Stahl. He portrays a repulsive, psychotic child molester who is eventually stopped in his tracks by Detective John Hartigan, played by Bruce Willis. His features are creature like and are made more repulsive by his bright yellow colour in contrast to the black and white surroundings. Even his blood is yellow when he is reduced to messy pulp by Hartigan.

Although the plot and extensive violence in Sin City may not be suited to everbody's taste, the styling and artwork is a true masterpiece and needs to be seen.

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