Luis Edmundo Ríos Ortega
2nd Partial Essay
Justin Theodore Ascott
Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City
A world of light and shadows merges from an incredibly sharp imagination, the muddy and cold sensation arrives from the very beginning as the audience gets drawn into the depth of the city. Frank Miller’s graphic novels are faithfullytranslated from the comic book to the film, thanks to the vision of the director Robert Rodriguez, who manages to complete the challenge of setting the right approach to the movie by using several editing and filming techniques. But such techniques are intended to create a psychological impact on the audience? Or it is just a way to maintain truth to the style of Miller’s comic books?
“SinCity, is based on a series of stories of vengeance and redemption set in the grimiest, thoughest city in the world. The film incorporates storylines from three of Frank Miller’s graphic novels including Sin City, That Yellow Bastard and The Big Fat Kill” (Miller, Frank), and it has a very unique visual style, where high contrast values prevail during the whole film, and the color palette is limitedto black and white tonalities, except for some few coloured elements. The editing also contributes to generate this comic-alike movie as it seems to jump between actions and moments, and most of the mise en scène is identical to the graphic novel.
About the color palette, due to the fact that Frank Miller’s original comic book only manages black and whites, the film is limited to agrayscale in order to follow Miller’s vision of a live action film based on his novel. Even so, during the film some coloured elements can be spotted such as the red dress and the lips of the woman in the first sequence where a couple is standing on a rooftop, which ends up in the assasination of the woman by a mysterious man (whose names are not revealed).
These coloured elements seems to gainprotagonism and create a psychological contrast with the monochromatic blacks and whites. An example of this would be the scenes where we can see the blood on Marv’s disfigured face, while he is in his trial of revenge after the murder of a prostitute called Goldie. Little by little we can notice how most of the main characters in the storyline wears at least some colouring element, as for examplethe sport shoes of Dwight, the adornments in Miho's garment, Goldie's hair, Manute's golden eye and certainly, the yellowish body of the Yellow Bastard.
Another thing that needs to be pointed out, is the fact that the contrast during the movie goes in similar increase as the plot evolves. The gray tones disappear little by little, and near the end the tones have turned almost totallyinto blacks and whites. “For instance, The Hard Goodbye and The Big Fat Kill look became more photoreal than That Yellow Bastard. But because that sequence is later in the film, Robert was okay with their look being more graphic and closer to the look in the novels, increasing the use of more contrast black and whites.” (Miller, Frank).
There are some scenes during the movie in which thecontrast values reaches top and we can only see plain black and white. Robert Rodriguez uses this technique in moments where the plot has a “peak” point, and it manages to create an interesting psychological effect where the strong and pumping emotions of the characters seems to be enhanced by the powerful contrast on the screen. This can be noticed in the scene where Kevin is being eaten by hiswolf, also when Dwight is drowning in the swamp and finally when Hardigans commit suicide towards the end of the movie.
In Sin City film, the color palette is not only designed to be similar to the one of the novel, but also it accomplish the psychological function of accentuating or diminishing the visual tension of what it is happening on screen, for example, in the sequence where the...
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