Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
There’s plenty of greed and wrath in 2005’s Sin City — not to mention that Carla Gugino is lust on two legs and Rosario Dawson’s thighs gluttonously groan against latex as she sexily struts in a cockatiel hairdo and a skin-tight bustier.
On one hand, Robert Rodriguez drenched Sin City in his usual monsoon of ironic, macho macabre. People are beaten, eaten and shot in the babymaker. His camera salivates over curves and cleavage of tough-dame females. Elijah Wood convincingly portrays a mute, cannibal black-belt badass.
On the other, Sin City wasn’t just an entertaining killing-floor display. Do-gooder pride proved as dangerous as any broad or bad guy and offered a thematically gray complement to stunning arctic-white, inkblot-black visuals in an adaptation of Frank Miller’s neo-noir graphic novels (which Miller co-directed).
Broken into segments, Sin City is at its best concerning mournful mammoth Marv (Mickey Rourke) — an incredible hulk with meat mitts and a face like Kirk Douglas if someone broke it and let the bones set on their own.
As Marv tracks those who killed the woman he loved, Rourke’s hungry, manic eyes peek from behind freakish disfigurement, highlighting the animal magnetism that propelled Rourke’s Zeroes comeback.
Clive Owen and Bruce Willis round out palookas and galoots in the wrong place at the wrong time — enjoying only fleeting senses of valor and vigor. If they’re heroes at all, they’re haggard, harried, morose.
For all of Sin City’s impressive teeth-kicking intensity, its strongest virtues are somber questions of righteousness versus delusion.