Sincity – review

If Sincity was a graphic novel, it is also a comic movie now. Imagine reading a noir comic book on a rainy day, when the light is dim, when the characters from the frozen snap-sketches snap to life in your mind, adding continuity to the frames. As you flip through the pages dark, and very real, scenes spring to life in your mind. Now imagine taking those mental scenes projected on a widescreen, where the characters’ thoughts are spoken out loud, and where each character, far from seeming to be a Real Human Being in a Real situation, instead seems to be the work of a animation artist, too real to be true, and you begin to have an idea about what it’s like to watch Sincity.


The first few minutes of the movie dissappointed me – reminding me of other movies with sloppy direction, and even worse dialogue delivery. The characters thought in cliched phrases, like a human never would, unless taken over by delusions of being a heroic, or villainous character in a comic book – and then it struck me – that’s what this is – this is not a story of real human beings, not a story made to resemble a movie. This is an attempt to display a graphic novel on the big screen – faithful to the original medium and its lovers.

Actors I have known and admired morph into sketches from a comic book – no special effects here, but I was amazed that actors I have seen before would so perfectly fit, in black and white, in the pages of a comic book. If an animation artist’s goal is to make the animations look as real and life like as possible, the artists who worked together towards producing this movie seem to have worked in reverse. They took real people, and film and cameras, and succeeded in making them look like less-than-perfect animations.

Since the movie resembles a hand-drawn cartoon, the directors are able to pull off ridiculously violent scenes. Blood, when it not colored red, is less offending and violent. I’ve never winced when Tom, the cartoon cat hammers Jerry into the wall, damaging the wall – have you? In fact, such “violence” in cartoons sometime evokes laughter, as was with this movie. The audience can and did laugh during some of the more graphically violent scenes, helped on in no little measure by the unrealness of it all. The movie made us all laugh out loud, and exclaim, and wince.

A flourescent yellow man, white blood, and a man with an unreal ugly face are all part of the cast. The ugly face is a bad make up job, and I should think intentionally so. Again, one has to keep in mind that the goal here is to create a graphic novel in three dimensions. Indeed, most of the movie seems to have been shot against a blue screen, with the backgrounds filled in later from sketches and sets.

The only complaint I have is that the movie offered me three stories, each different, and yet made an effort to blend the three, or offer some continuity. The last scene tries to blend into the first, and characters appear in each others’ stories to tell me that they are all part of the same world. I should think the directors must have trusted the intelligence of the users and left the three stories standing without crutches, or the need to be a part of a “whole”. It also seems to me that a little less “thinking out loud”, and more conversation between the characters would have been nice.

Be prepared for a ride that is unlike most movies you have seen (almost all movies if you don’t go out of your way to see non-traditional, or non-commercial cinema). Go with an open mind, and come back with one that is black and white, with the azure color of someone’s eye imprinted on it forever.

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3 Responses to Sincity – review

  1. Meredith says:

    I noticed the storyboard style of the movie, too. You could have paused the film at several moments and it would have looked exactly like a comic book. I rather enjoyed that part; the use of color (non-use?) was good too.

  2. Grim says:

    I’m a fan of the Graphic Novel. And yes this was a true depiction of the graphic novel on screen. It made it fresh original and awe inspiring. The blue filter allowed extremes of violence that too are an intrical part of the “Sincity” novels.
    This isn’t like any other film, or even like few other graphic novels. But I watched it in stunned silence because I was in awe at how well it was presented. On leaving the theatre I heard many others all talking in kind of awe, unbelieving of what they saw, but also amazed at how powerful, vivid and good it was.
    The voice over thoughts made it the graphic novel, without it this would have been a film like any other film, and the whole point of it was for it to BE the graphic novel.
    I personally believed this to be the best, most orginal movie I’ve seen in the last few years.
    It is not supposed to be real, thats why the violence is totally out of this world. Thats why marv could be shot, run over, run over and electricuted and still say “that all you got?”
    This is introducing the masses to the excesses of graphic novels. the three stories are straight out of the Graphic novel, not a new story thats based on it.
    I think this is the must see film of the year, it might not be repeated or copied, but it will stun audiences in a good way.

  3. michael says:

    i noticed the comic book style but i think sin city is the worst film ive ever seen. it was a total waste of my 2 hour or how long the movie took. Theres a weak story in it. And the end sucks even more.