- Books, Literature, and Writing
Sin City- A Comparison of the Graphic Novel and Film
Frank Miller wrote an entire series centered in his fictional Sin City, an old prospecting town that swelled into a bustling city when prostitutes were "imported" to keep the miners happy. The first book of Miller's series, Sin City, is the story of Marv-- a disfigured and psychologically disturbed giant of a man-- and his search for revenge after Goldie, (a prostitute who is kind to him), is murdered.
The book follows Marv during his exploits, and spares no detail of his ruthless treatment of anyone who gets in his way. Readers may find themselves sympathetic and repulsed simultaneously, as Marv seeks a justified justice through merciless means. Although he unabashedly admits to enjoying his methods of torture, he excuses it through a warped sense of fair play, and only brutally murders those who have done others what he considers equal or worse wrong.
The remarkable aspect of the movie is that it transposes many scenes from the book almost directly into scenes of the film. In the very beginning of the book when Marv is saying, "The night is hot as hell..." etc., there is a comic panel in which he tilts his head back to take a drink from a bottle, and is shown as though seen through a window. This scene is reenacted almost identically in the film. A short time later, when Marv sits up and realizes that Goldie is dead, the panel is drawn from above, looking down at Goldie's form on the heart-shaped bed. This scene is shot from above in the movie as well, and the positioning of the characters and the layout of the bedroom-- an end table in the corner, a small tv, and a hanging lamp-- is perfectly accurate. All of the scenes in between these two shots are very true in appearance to the comic and the script is taken entirely from the dialogue of the novel.
The stylization of the film also seems to draw heavily from the book, as most of the scenes are black and white, with rare flashes of color to emphasize or draw attention to certain details, such as a woman's eyes, or blood. At times, the scenes change entirely to an effect in which the black and white areas are switched to produce a negative, cartoony look. These effects are presumably intended as artistic.
The main difference between the movie and the Sin CIty book is that the film actually incorporates several other books in Frank Miller's series along with the first book, so that viewers not only see Marv's story, but several others that take place within Sin City.
Both the movie and book versions of Sin City, however, emanate the same essence and idea in serving to create a portrait of what is considered "good" in an immoral place. Marv and the other heroes of Sin City are heroes only because they are one step above the villains-- one notch away from the unthinkably horrible. They seek to do right in a place where right does not exist, and live by their own twisted standards. They desire to help people, but only the people important to their own selves, and they have no qualms about hurting the people they don't care about in the process. Sin City speaks clearly to one idea: in a corrupt place far beyond the bounds of truly upright or ethical principles, there exists only a downgraded sense of good.