ABC showed an interesting thing one day. The segment was:” What is art?” and it consisted of taking some expensive works of modern art and displaying them side by side with the blochings of a one year old child and asking a series of art experts to distinguish the real from the fakes. Not only did most of the aficionados get it dead wrong, they doubly shot themselves in the foot by discovering nuances and styles in the paintings of a one year old. Then on being found out for being the false prophets that they are, they justified their judgment by saying that the child had exhibited maturity beyond his year(s). Hokum. Pure and simple.
I wanted to see “Sin City”. I had been seduced by it’s very interesting promos, the concept and of course its galaxy of stars. I also read rottentomatoes which has the collection of reviews from different media sources and the pundits were almost unanimous in their verdict—-it’s a classic ! After all they are the experts—they should know. And based on that, I spent a good 10 bucks to watch it at the Manhattan AMC and after spending 2 hours and 16 minutes wading through this so-called noir movie it hits me——-Sin City is the movie equivalent of the painting of an year old , over-hyped and over-analyzed for what it is not worth.
Have I become dumbed down by watching Jessica Simpson eating chicken of the sea? Have I lost my sense of aesthetics and become a phillistine who is incapable of appreciating greatness even when it’s thrust in my face?
That very well may be the case.
But the way I see it, Sin City is one elaborate exercise in cinematic narcissism with every frame screaming out “Look how cool I am”. Yes sir I got that one—every frame looks like a page from a comic book with exaggerated darks and whites and stunning splashes of periodic selective color. Eye candy.Undeniably so.
However if a sequence of mind numbing visuals makes a classic, Asoka is Citizen Kane.
A few critics have dubbed it the new Pulp Fiction. It is not. While Pulp Fiction had an intricate collage of mutually overlapping stories temporally displaced and then sewn together in a synaesthetic pattern—Sin City is nothing but a series of three linear stories with none of the thunderous dialogue and mesmerizing music that made Pulp Fiction a must-see.
One of the heroes takes a full blast on an electric chair and keeps on ticking. Another hero is having a heart attack and at the same time gets pumped with lead—-yet he survives. The critics rave—-pure comicbook heroism—-the fantasies of adult comic books brought to celluloid by the genius of Miller and Rodriguez.
Amitabh Bacchan is a coolie, he gets shot full in the chest and Allah’s cloth comes and covers him. He recovers. In Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, he also gets sprayed with bullets, Jaya Prada does a dance around a tree and voila he is good-to-go. What did the critics say? Crap crap and more crap. They of course didn’t know that Manmohan Desai and the like drew their inspiration from Chacha Chowdhury.
That’s just my point. When the critics make up their mind that some movie is a masterpiece, nothing can stop them. The movie’s weaknesses become its strengths—example Sin City’s over-the-topness is, seemingly, it’s greatest strength.
And how ! A yellow-skinned villain whose testicles have been cut out, a crooked cop with a ball for an eye, an army of prostitutes who amputate and maim everyone in their way all the time impeccable in pumps and thongs, an evil Harry Potter who eats people when they are alive, a talking head (it has been cut from the body), a couple of indestructible heroes who jump from tall buildings with feline grace——–are all parts of this classic. I don’t mind the oddball nature of the characters or the delectably perverted nature of Sin City (I am all for perversions) but the movie makes no sense.
There is no impact. It does not make you think. It does not clutch at your heartstrings. It does not even make you laugh (except some moments).
What it does is numb you, like a drunken dream, with its endless mutilations, sadistic violence and its cacophony. Which if you believe the critics is what makes it unique.
Well to be fair the 10 bucks I spent was not a total waste. I got to see Jessica Alba. She looks like a million bucks, has a body to kill (and mutilate) for, and really sends jolts of electricity with her sinuous slitherings. She however cant act to save her life. But I suppose that’s ok—in a tale of redemption, sin and pleasure like Sin City with its homage to comic book characters,it is “in character “not to be able to act.
See ….now even I am speaking like the wise critics.
Normally I would have just called this Aishwarya Raiseque.