Of the few things I miss about my old job, the weekly Tuesday trip to Future Shop and/or Best Buy is in the top 5. So when I found myself in the local geek box on a tip from Eskimo Bill that I could procure Far Cry on the cheap, I took the occasion to browse. Needless to say (well, unless you think I have no talent for picking post titles), I saw Sin City on the shelf. I picked it up, unseen by me, because it seemed like my kind of movie. Two hours of graphic novel noir later I have to say that gosh darn it, it is my kind of movie. I loved every minute of it.
Yet there was this unexplainable feeling of…je ne sais quoi. Was it Disappointment? Why such a preponderance of despondence over a film I just so recently purported to appreciate, even love? Expectations, dear readers; I was set up. “The comic thing was too much.” “I can’t believe the violence.” “Oh. My. God. That was so fucked up.” This is but a sampling of what I heard. So I was expecting something like Waking Life meets Kill Bill meets Mullholland Drive. That such a movie would be impossible barely registered. I needed to see Sin City.
Was the comic book inspiration intrusive, existing solely because the director was drooling over his digital camera and editing equipment? Sorry, you’re thinking about Sky Captain. This is result of the crystal clear conviction of somebody that knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish and then did it, even though he had to resign from the director’s guild to do it. You call that vision. When was the last time you watched a movie without a single wasted shot (and you can’t say Citizen Kane)? I’m waiting…
It is violent. Somebody rips off somebody else’s testicles with his bare hand. A dog snacks on his dismembered but still living owner. A dirty cop dies when he gets a pistol barrel in the forehead. Add a cornucopia of shootings, stabbings, and decapitations and this ain’t Disney. But it’s stylized and iconic, not graphic — Casino was more disturbing.
Is it a kick in the nuts uber experience? No. While I’ve enjoyed hundreds of movies over the last decade, I can only think of a couple that left me sitting there in the theatre thinking “I’m never going to see anything like that again.” Saving Private Ryan was one. Reservoir Dogs was another.
Maybe I should stop listening to people talk about movies I haven’t seen, or find folks with a frame of reference more closely aligned with my own. If you saw National Treasure but not Million Dollar Baby, we don’t have much to talk about. If you liked Daredevil, but not Hulk, we’re on different planets. And if you can tell the difference Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2, then you’re the Ront, and beyond hope. Before I get any comments saying I’m a film snob, let me take this chance to admit two things:
- I liked Mortal Kombat. And I’m not being ironic.
- I’m the guy that saw Spiceworld. Four times.
Do me a favour everyone. If you see The Libertine before I do, only tell me what you thought if you weren’t shocked. Deal?
My name is Nathan Smith, and I am the cynicalman.
 It had one thing going for it right away – any movie with an Elvis Costello cameo can’t possibly be evil. I also thought some of the Spice Girls were hot (I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to fill in the blanks.) So sue me.