Written by Robert Rodriguez, based on the series of graphics novels by Frank Miller
Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino
Starring Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson
My Advice: Don’t miss it.
Welcome to Basin City. It’s a freaking cesspool of sex, violence and depravity. A series of stories from the town come to light. First, an about-to-retire cop (Willis) gets involved with his last case and finds himself in some serious shit. Next, a dangerous nutjob (Rourke) has a night he’ll never forget with a young lady, only to wake up with her dead in bed next to him. And a guy named Dwight (Owen) finds himself in the middle of a war between the ladies of the evening who control Old Town, the mob that wants in, and the cops. Before everything’s said and done there will be carnage, blood, gore, and rampant disregard for most anything civilized. Sweet.
The similarities between the movie and the book are positively mind-blowing. It’s literally a comic book sprung to life with a good number of shots in the films taken verbatim from the comics. And the effects are stunning. Even if it’s something small, like how Rodriguez can make Marv’s (Rourke) face disappear but for his bandaids. Or the few splotches of color that decorate the film. You could watch it just for its technical achievement and how gorgeous the damn thing is and stay busy the whole time.
Trouble is you barely get a chance, because this ensemble cast is kicking much ass all the way around. I racked my brain to come up with a situation that felt forced or a character that seemed slightly out of whack and could not. Even if you haven’t read the comics, you can quickly see where it’s all coming from: this is noir laced with rocket fuel.
Mickey Rourke gives an amazing performance. He’s Marv. He is Marv. You forget you’re watching Mickey Rourke on the screen, he’s so completely the character. And it’s not just the amount of prosthetics they use to turn him into Marv–which look much better in the film than they have in stills. Mickey Rourke blows me away with his acting and Elijah Wood creeps the hell out of me? I swear to God, I don’t understand the universe anymore. Also notable is Bruce Willis in all of his stoic glory and Clive Owen, who looks to be having the time of his freaking life.
A bit of a warning, though: I’m amazed this thing got an R. It has probably some of the creepiest things I’ve seen on the screen in a while, not to mention some very disturbing bits, on top of some extreme violence that you have to question whether or not you’ve actually seen what you’ve just seen. But it’s a ride–a completely flawless, nasty, out of control balls to the wall ride. And probably one of the best comic adaptations we will ever see.