The Daily Stream: Sin City Is One Of The Most Faithful — And Fun — Comic Adaptations Out There

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Sin City"

Where You Can Stream It: Paramount+

The Pitch: Based on the highly stylized comic series by Frank Miller, "Sin City" is an exploration of the dark and violent Basin City. The film highlights the stories of three of the city's residents, all of whom are caught up in violent corruption, shady dealings, and trying to right their wrongs. As they spiral deeper and deeper into the city's underbelly, they are tried and tested by the ills of the world, their consciences, and their pride. Some come out on top, others don't. That's how the city goes. 

Why It's Essential Viewing

One of the most divisive things you can ever put to screen is an adaptation of a book. Movies that have been derived from novels or short stories or comics or, really, any kind of literary source material will always be fighting to live in the shadow — or attempting to live up to the shadow — of their original counterparts. I don't even really need to start listing examples because god, there are so many, and you probably have already thought of your own examples from your own cinephilic oeuvre anyway. The point is, when a movie comes along that does the original work justice, it should be celebrated and revered for its successes.

This, my friends, is why I'm recommending the gritty and gory "Sin City" as your Saturday stream of choice. The 2005 noir thriller combines three of Miller's "Sin City" graphic novels — "That Yellow Bastard," "The Hard Goodbye," and "The Big Fat Kill" — into a dizzying, demented, and deeply enthralling anthology piece about some of the Basin City citizens and their messy, violent lives. If you're into a good noir, this is a great updated spin on the genre that is very much still its own creative operation. It definitely doesn't skew into the territory of other contemporary noirs, like, for example, the beloved Rian Johnson feature "Brick."

There's Nothing Quite Like Sin City

The two reasons for that, though, become pretty apparent once you dig into the film. First off, the visual stylings of this movie are simply unlike any other. Miller's drawing style is extremely singular and his "Sin City" drawings have, well, a vibe to them. There simply isn't anything like the visual world he created for this city and the people that inhabit it — so it was clearly the best choice for the book-to-screen transition for him to direct the film alongside Robert Rodriguez, who adapted the graphic novels for the screenplay. They made it a distinct point to capture Miller's drawing style as closely as possible for their visuals and it makes for such an engaging watch. Again, there is simply no other movie that looks like this. It's hard to keep your eyes off it.

But it isn't just the visuals that were impeccably adapted. The script is a near replica of the comics, woven together in a new way that seamlessly divides and conquers with each tale. They bleed together well, the mess and macabre dealings of the inventive stories and the specificity of the dialogue and the world-building — it's all just so intriguing. There's nothing I love more than specificity. It's what makes stories come alive, what makes them unique and special. It's how we can have so many stories about similar experiences and still have them feel fresh. There's nothing quite like "Sin City." I keep saying it, but it's true. It brings something unquantifiable to the noir space, something no other piece could bring — and it's a film everyone should see at least once.