Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review: The Hard Goodbye, by Frank Miller

Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard GoodbyeMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought the Sin City movie was great, when I watched it on DVD in 2007... Since then, the wait for Sin City 2 has been a bit of a pain. (OK, I don't agonise about it every second, but it would be nice to see.) I've flirted with reading the graphic novels on several occasions, until I finally got a hold of the first in the series. I'm going to take a leap here and call it the best.

As has been said, the story in this graphic novel was one of three plotlines in the movie. As has not been said, it was by far the best -- in my eyes, it bumped the movie from a C+/B- to a solid A. In a world full of hokey monologues and manly bad-assery, Marv outshines them all -- both in the movie, with Micky Rourke's stand-out performance, and as it turns out, in the graphic novel.

I am a big fan of highly-quotable, "B" movies. Some are so "bad" unintentionally, like Mommie Dearest, while productions like Sin City obviously took a lot of effort to be so hokey. Some people are turned off by the supposed testosterone-fuelled orgy -- I see it all as one big joke. I, and my kinsfolk, were laughing throughout the movie, in a good way.

As for specific scenes, who could forget the opening? (Apparently "She smells how angels oughta smell.") And how about the ending? ("Can we get a move on? I haven't got all night," says Marv in the electric chair.) Two classic moments that serve as the bread to an absolutely delicious sandwich.

Well, I've gone and made this review mostly about the movie, but that isn't completely inappropriate -- the two are remarkably similar. Must be Miller's famed cinematic style, and it couldn't hurt that he had a major role in the production of the movie.

The book has only a few minor differences. Marv never visits his mother in the movie, for example, and of course this GN only includes the one plotline. I prefer it that way -- every time I see Nancy in the book I think of Jessica Alba's horrific performance. I still cringed a little at "Sure, Marv. Who's the babe?"

But, overall, the book is shorter, and sweeter for it.

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