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Movie review: Style over all else in ‘Sin City’

First Published Aug 21 2014 10:40PM      Last Updated Aug 22 2014 01:31 pm

The self-consciously stylized "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is so driven to capture its peculiar visual aesthetic that it obliterates everything else — character, narrative, emotion and logic — to achieve it.

Robert Rodriguez shares directing credit with Frank Miller, on whose graphic-novel series the film is based, and together they mine the source material for more noir mayhem involving the seedy characters of a generic inner city.

Some characters are back from Rodriguez’s 2005 "Sin City," including Mickey Rourke’s battered bruiser Marv and Jessica Alba’s Nancy, now a strip-club dancer who wants revenge on the powerful Sen. Roark (Powers Boothe), who was responsible for the death of her love, detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis, returning here as a ghost).



Roark is prominent in the introductory vignette, challenged at poker by a cocky card sharp (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Then, without fanfare, that story is halted to follow Dwight (Josh Brolin), a private eye, getting pulled into the orbit of the seductive Eva (Eva Green).

Rodriguez, who also served as cinematographer and editor, employs his green-screen tricks to create Miller’s nihilistic black-and-white images punctuated with flashes of color. Meanwhile, Miller’s hodgepodge script tosses together story fragments and characters in a disorganized mess.

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AT A GLANCE

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‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

Opens Friday, Aug. 22, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and brief drug use; 104 minutes.