Miller Magic in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin City Hart Shaped Bed

You’ve probably heard about the new Sin City movie coming out this August. I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about it. This Halloween we suspect that people will don trench coats and Vegas dancer outfits and wear Sin City movie costumes but for now, let talk about the movie…

Sin City movie poster

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a prequel/sequel of the 2005 film, bringing both “A Dame to Kill For” and “Another Saturday Night” to life. The first follows the then-photographer Dwight as he tries to help out Eva, an old flame who’s buried herself in a bad crowd. The second focuses on Marv as he tries to figure out how he ended up in a field full of dead guys. We’re also getting two original pieces written by Frank Miller to the mix: “The Long Bad Night,” a story about a gambler named Johnny who gets on the bad side of kingpin Roark, and “The Fat Loss,” which tells what Nancy does once she realizes that Roark was the ultimate reason for Hartigan’s suicide. I’m super-pumped to see the movie…for a couple of reasons, actually.

His films hit you like a BLAM to the head.

Blam Cartoon art

When I watched both Sin City and 300 I was amazed at how graphic they were, in every meaning of the word. They didn’t try to hide uncomfortable scenes with fade-outs or cuts or all those other tricks they use in a lot movies. You had to watch it happen, no matter how much it hurt.

You could also see the comic roots in each shot. If you looked hard enough you could tell what the shape of the panel was, how the art looked, you could probably even figure what sound effect Miller was using. The films do their best to conserve the integrity of the original work so they can keep all of its power. And man does it work.

There’s no such thing as black and white.

Sin City 2 Woman on Balcony

It wasn’t just the look of the film, though. I fell in love with Miller’s characters and I fell hard, especially for Marv. The contrast between his brutal, ugly savagery and matter-of-fact morality is mesmerizing. I feel the same about Nancy who, despite all her erotic sensuality, is really still an innocent girl at heart. There was something about the strong divide between what was outside and what was inside that I couldn’t get enough of. I think it’s because both of those characters capture the feeling of Sin City.

When you look at Marv and Nancy, there’s the dirty part that you see at first glance–the murderer, the stripper–and then there’s the intrinsically clean person that they actually are: a man trying to protect the few things left that he cares about, a woman trying to get back what she lost. They’re good people being cut down by forces that are really, truly unforgivable (Roark, Kevin, Wallenquist) because they only care about themselves–because, no matter how they look, they’re dirty on the inside. Marv and Nancy are the city, at least what Miller makes it out to be.

“Aye, there’s the rub…”

Sin City Hart Shaped Bed

This all might sound really romantic, but I think that’s why Miller’s work is so addictive. He’s writing romances that we can believe and understand. He makes modern-day epics for a modern-day world where heroes and villains are often the same people.

And now that he’s written two new stories for A Dame to Kill For, I can’t wait to see what he’s going to give us next.