Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cult Status: The Women of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin City: where women's sexuality is the most powerful of weapons.

Picture the most exaggerated rendering of a classic film noir femme fatale. Now add a dash of extreme homicidal tendencies, some distaste for men, and a hint of stripper/prostitute attire and you will have the perfect formula for most of, if not all, the women of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014).  

After nearly a decade of anticipation, we have finally been treated to a follow up of Frank Miller's hugely popular Sin City (2005). With Robert Rodriguez back as co-director, expectations were incredibly high for the latest adaptation of Miller's bloody violent graphic novels. Although the film may not have surpassed its predecessor in terms of quality, it undoubtedly provided audiences with an array of darkly twisted and intriguing female characters. 

Contrary to the first film, A Dame to Kill For appeared to portray the women of Sin City as more complex beings than your standard damsels in distress. Whereas returning characters such as Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) and Gail (Rosario Dawson) had to previously be rescued from desperate situations by men, they now took their own initiative, and either enlisted the help of men for their own missions or worked alongside them as equals. Considerably one of the standout moments of this film, we witness the frustrated stripper Nancy take a shard of broken mirror to her face, in an alcohol-fueled plan to prove to herself and others that she is no longer simply a "pretty" face, that she can and will avenge the man she loved. 

Which she did, in a studded leather jacket.

Like Nancy, almost all of the women of Sin City took on a more hardcore role when it came to clothing. Whilst dominatrix prostitute Gail may only have evolved further in her badass ensembles, the change in Old Town was very noticeable (although somewhat confusing - wasn't this storyline a prequel to the first film?). 

The only character who did not adhere to the dark and dangerous dresscode was newcomer Ava (Eva Green). Her wardrobe mainly consisted of sultry lingerie, a sheer dressing gown and a very impressive blue satin coat - that is, when she wasn't completely naked, which was most of the time.

Unlike Rodriguez's previous action film, which also featured a female-heavy cast, A Dame to Kill For manages to avoid offending and problematizing the representation of female sexuality. Sin City is a place where strippers are strippers, prostitutes are prostitutes and nobody judges. 

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