Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Taglines: There is no justice without sin.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (also known as Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) is en American neo-noir crime thriller film and follow-up to the 2005 film Sin City. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, the script is written by Miller, and is primarily based on the second book in the Sin City series by Miller.
One of the smaller plots of the film is based on the short story “Just Another Saturday Night”, which is collected in Booze, Broads, & Bullets, the sixth book in the comic series. Two original stories (“The Long Bad Night” and “Nancy’s Last Dance”) were created exclusively for the film written by Miller. The film was released on August 22, 2014.
The film stars an ensemble cast including returning cast members Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Jaime King, and Powers Boothe. Newcomers to the series include Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie Chung, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Lady Gaga, Alexa Vega, Julia Garner, and Juno Temple.
About the Story
“Just Another Saturday Night”
Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling since it’s Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie’s Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a homeless man alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him “Bernini Boy”, which Marv mishears as “Bernie”.
They flee, and Marv follows, stealing a Police car on the way, which he crashes into their car, leading to his blackout and memory loss. He follows the two surviving frat boys into The Projects, the neighborhood where he grew up, and with the assistance of the deadly residents lurking in the shadows, he dispatches the frat boys. He questions the leader about being called “Bernini boy” and learns that it is the brand of coat he is wearing. After slitting the boy’s throat, he considers his coat, and realizes he can’t remember how he acquired it.
“The Long Bad Night (Part I)”
Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky young gambler, arrives in Sin City and heads to Kadie’s place, where he immediately hits the jackpot on multiple slot machines. Taking a young waitress, Marcie (Julia Garner) with him as a good luck charm, he buys into the backroom poker game led by the all-powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Johnny repeatedly wins in the high-stakes game, and cleans the senator out.
One other player, the corrupt police lieutenant Liebowitz (Jude Ciccolella), warns him to flee the city, but instead Johnny takes Marcie out for a night on the town. He walks her home when Roark’s goons suddenly attack him. He fights them off and tells Marcie to meet him at a hotel before he is escorted into the Senator’s waiting limousine. In payment for the humiliation he suffered at the card game, Roark takes back his money and uses a pair of pliers to break three of Johnny’s fingers. They toss him from the car and the Senator shoots Johnny in the leg. Roark then reveals that he recognized Johnny as his illegitimate son. However, he remarks that he only considered his dead son Roark Jr. his flesh and blood. He leaves Johnny alive, preferring to let him suffer, and Johnny swears revenge.
“A Dame to Kill For”
Years before “The Big Fat Kill”, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) attempts to put his violent past behind him, working as a private detective and leading a life of complete sobriety, struggling daily to refuse his inner demons. After saving the life of a young hooker (Juno Temple) who is nearly murdered by her businessman lover (Ray Liotta) he receives an unexpected phone call from his former lover Ava Lord (Eva Green), who left Dwight four years prior for a wealthy tycoon, Damian Lord (Marton Csokas). She begs him to meet her at Kadie’s saloon, and despite his embittered feelings, he agrees.
When Ava arrives, she begs forgiveness for leaving him, and infers she is afraid for her life before her massive chauffeur, Manute (Dennis Haysbert) arrives to escort her home. Unable to get her out of his mind, Dwight sneaks into Damian Lord’s estate, where he observes Ava swimming, but is caught and beaten for his trouble. Dwight is returned home, where a nude Ava waits for him. He tries to throw her out, but can’t resist her and they make love. She tells him that Damian and Manute torture her physically and mentally, and she knows Damian will kill her soon. Manute arrives and viciously beats a naked Dwight, tossing him out a window.
Determined to rescue Ava, Dwight recruits Marv to help him, and they mount an assault on Lord’s compound. Marv attacks Manute, putting him in traction and tearing out his eye. Dwight confronts Damian Lord, who denies Ava’s accusations, and an enraged Dwight beats him to death. As he reacts in horror, Ava appears and shoots Dwight several times, taunting him and thanking him for helping her murder her husband and take over his business. She shoots him in the face and forces him to fall out of a window, where Marv rescues him and takes him to Old Town. Dwight’s old flame, Gail (Rosario Dawson), recognizes him and saves his life. With the help of Gail and the deadly assassin Miho (Jamie Chung), Dwight undergoes reconstructive surgery on his face and plots his revenge.
Meanwhile, two detectives, Mort (Christopher Meloni) and Bob (Jeremy Piven) investigate Damian’s death. Ava claims Dwight was an obsessive ex-lover, and he killed her husband in a jealous rage. Bob is skeptical but Ava seduces Mort, who believes her every word. They begin an affair and Ava pressures him to find and kill Dwight. When Mort, obsessed with Ava, attempts to track Dwight down in Old Town (an action that would break the truce between the police and the prostitutes), Bob attempts to stop him. An enraged Mort shoots Bob in the head, then turns the gun on himself and dies on the roadside. Out of options, Ava reluctantly partners with the mob boss Wallenquist (Stacey Keach).
Dwight (with his reconstructed new face), accompanied by Gail and Miho, poses as Wallenquist’s man from Phoenix. Inside Ava’s estate, however, Manute sees past the new face and captures Dwight. Gail and Miho strike from Dwight’s car, and Dwight shoots Manute with a hidden .25 he had up his left sleeve. Six bullets fail to kill him, and Manute aims shakily at Dwight as Ava unexpectedly grabs one of Manute’s guns, shooting Manute several times. She attempts to convince Dwight to pair with her, and that the pain he suffered revealed his true intentions, but Dwight shoots her mid-kiss, and she dies in his arms.
“The Long Bad Night (Part II)”
Johnny visits an unlicensed doctor, Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd) who shoots up heroin before trading his services for Johnny’s last forty dollars and his shoes. Realizing he left Marcie unprotected, Johnny flees to her hotel, but finds the Senator waiting for him along with Marcie’s dismembered head and hands. Again, the senator lets him go. Intent on taking down Roark, Johnny scrounges a dollar from a sympathetic waitress (Lady Gaga) which he uses to regain enough money playing slots to buy his way into Roark’s game the following night.
Playing a card shark’s con, Johnny folds his first few hands, allowing Roark to taunt him about his dead mother. He once again cons Roark into going all in, and then reveals his winning hand. Johnny taunts his father, reminding him that tonight’s story of how the same man beat him twice will follow him for the rest of his life. His vengeance completed, Johnny smiles resignedly as Roark dismissively shoots him in the head, commanding his men to get rid of the body.
“Nancy’s Last Dance”
Set four years after “That Yellow Bastard”, Nancy Callahan struggles to cope with John Hartigan’s selfless suicide. Drinking heavily, she is obsessed with vengeance on Senator Roark, for having driven Hartigan to kill himself. As she wallows in despair, the ghost of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) watches over her, unable to reach her but still attempting to help. On the same night that Johnny joins the backroom poker game, Nancy attempts to shoot Roark from the stage of Kadie’s, but finds herself unable to pull the trigger, possibly due to Hartigan’s ghostly influence.
Nancy hallucinates a visit from Roark, and shortly thereafter cuts her hair and smashes a mirror, using its shards to cut her face. She decides to get Marv to help her kill Roark by showing him the scars, and making him believe Roark was responsible. As they step out of the club, they meet a motorcycle gang there to shoot up the place. Marv kills two, but leaves their leader for Nancy to finish off. The pair mount an assault on Roark’s compound, and Marv slaughters Roark’s bodyguards while Nancy picks off the guards with a crossbow. Marv is wounded, and Nancy continues on to confront Roark by herself. Roark shoots her several times and is about to finish her off when Hartigan’s ghost suddenly flashes in the mirror to distract him, which gives Nancy enough time to recover and shoot him dead.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Directed by: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Juno Temple
Screenplay by: Frank Miller
Production Design by: Caylah Eddleblute, Steve Joyner
Cinematography by: Robert Rodriguez
Film Editing by: Robert Rodriguez
Costume Design by?: Nina Proctor
Set Decoration by: Bart Brown, Jennifer Long
Music by: Robert Rodriguez, Carl Thiel
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use.
Studio: Dimension Films
Release Date: August 22, 2014