Monday, February 13, 2006

Script Vs Film: Sin City

I think I’m going to start using spam emailers as characters in my scripts. Today’s heroine: Fanny Dennison.

Anyway, in this week’s Script Vs Film, I thought it would be interesting to put up Sin City for examination as it’s a film that most people will have seen by now and it’d be good to take a look at a script that relied more on its distinctive visual flourish and appealing cast. Also, I think this script in particular is most relevant for the Script Vs Film series as at the flicks, it rocked the world of its target audience but as a script, well, here’s what I thought (spoilers etc):

“This is a stirring, violent, visual and gritty adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Sin City. It’s pretty much boys only, as in that is the main fan base, but the subject matter and overall concept is enough to ensure that these fans will get their kicks from Rodgriguez’s crime-fest. The film is extremely targeted on its audience and it makes no apologies as it blasts its way through three different stories about three different crime sprees in the heart of the fictional Sin City.

It’s not going to appeal to an audience like Spider-Man or the more accessible comic book heroes but with Rodgriguez behind the helm, plus the slew of top name actors, this will no doubt do the business come its release. Apparently, a lot, if not all, of the action is going to played out in front of a green screen so that the background and visual aspects of Sin City can be fully pumped up for CGI and whatever. This will add a considerable flair to the proceedings and makes the visual potential of the flick a whole lot tastier, given Rodgriguez’s proven track record for elevating his visual material with the Spy Kids series.

In truth, the three different stories aren’t particularly remarkable or noteworthy but they are strung together in a neat style and brisk pace to ensure that the action and humour are what the film is really about.

Structurally, it couldn’t be simpler. The three stories – Sin City, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard – serve as the film’s three main acts. There’s a short prologue and epilogue that bookends the film with the same scene but by the end this scene takes on a whole new different meaning for the audience than when the flick started. This was quite a clever device but ultimately this scene didn’t have an emotional or overly dramatic impact. The writing though is impressive as it maintains a swift momentum for each story and the action that takes part therein.

Sin City introduces us to the world of the film as Marv vows revenge for his beloved Goldie. From this, we get the basic set up of Sin City and the few characters that are going to pop up in the remaining stories or at least, have a significant presence. Marv’s story is entertaining enough, if a bit blustery and short. The stories are at a disadvantage really because they don’t have much time to elaborate or develop because of the time limits imposed by the three stories-within-one-film scenario.

Still, it’s swiftly on to The Big Fat Kill – Dwight’s predicament after a prostitute kills a respected cop – and here the action, gore and thrills are turned up a notch. Tarantino is directing this segment so expect more of the daring usual from QT.

That Yellow Bastard, the final instalment, offers the film the chance to get to an emotional heart with the use of Hartigan, the chiselled veteran cop, who is set up for assaulting Nancy, the young girl. Their character development together when Hartigan is released from prison eight years later is a neat alternative to the action and gore of the previous stories but there’s not too much time to dwell on it as Hartigan confronts Roark Jnr for an action and gore showdown.

It got a bit confusing as to who the yellow bastard was in the story. Initially, Bob, Hartigan’s double crossing partner, stood out as that yellow bastard but later, the story implies that Roark Jnr is the sallow illegitimate. As such, the story doesn’t get a chance to shine with a powerful theme about Hartigan’s revenge on that yellow bastard. Indeed, the three stories don’t seem to be thematically linked, which isn’t a necessity but would have been good.

The only link between the three is the fact that they all take place in Sin City, a hell on earth where the line between being a good guy and a bad guy doesn’t really exist. Fans of the comics, excuse me, the graphic novels, will probably revel in Rodriguez’s criminal delight, while a solid mixture of geeky and discerning teens should also get their kicks from this dark take on a popular genre.”


Cunningham said...

What's interesting about SIN CITY is the fact they took the graphic novels and literally translated the frames to film. This was the first "script" in the process.

Then Rodriguez made a script from the stories.

The legend has it whenever there was a conflict over what the script meant (in terms of staging, etc..) they would go back to the source material - the comic.

Grubber said...

I think that was pretty fair coverage of Sin City from what I remembered.