This isn’t an adaptation of a comic book, it is like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids. To describe the characters and summarize the stories would be like replacing the weather with a weather map, although it comprises characters who inhabit narratives.
The movie is not about narrative but about design. We get not so much their existence as their essence; the picture is not about what the characters say or what they do, but about who they are in our wildest dreams.
On the film’s site, a slide show juxtaposing the original drawings with the actors and then with the celebrities carried by effects into the visual world. Several of the stills in the movie look like frames as to make no difference. And a narration that plays like the captions at the top of the frame, expressing a stark world view that is existential and setting the stage.
Rodriguez is aiming toward “Sin City” for years. The future! Himself told me. That is the future! You don’t wait six hours for a scene. You would like a light over here, you grab a light and put it over here. You want a nuclear submarine, you make one out of thin air and place your characters into it.
And Rodriguez has found narrative discipline in the last area you might expect, by selecting to follow the Miller comic books nearly literally. A graphic artist has no time or room for drifting. Every framework contributes, and the narrative marches from page to page in vivid action photos. “Sin City” could easily have seemed as great as it does and still been a mess, if it were not for the energy of Miller’s storytelling, which isn’t the standard chronological report of events, but more like a tabloid homicide illuminated by flashbulbs.
Skylines suggest the film is set today. The cars vary from the late 1930s through the 1950s to a Ferrari that is recent. I don’t believe “Sin City” really has an interval, because it does not actually tell a story set in time and space. Yes, and amazing.