Saw it. Enjoyed it. Felt very dirty afterwards.

When all the furor dies down over just how cool it looks and how badass it sounds, I’m sure there will be detailed explications of the mysogyny and pervasive bile that spills out of the screen like so much ink. There are two kinds of women in Sin City, secret sluts (Alba) and blatant whores (Dawson). Both need the protection of a man. And even the good men have got some serious shadows on their souls.

Much has been said about a black and white moral universe. It’s more like an all-grey one forced into high contrast. After all, Bruce Willis’ character kills a child molester because deep down he is one. And Mickey Rourke’s character is hell-bent on not just revenge, but bloodlusty revenge. Clive Owen’s character uses the excuse of protecting the dizzy dame to drum up his own semi-automatic armageddon.

And what of the corrupt trifecta of the brothers Roark and Michael Madsen’s cop? Their motives of power consolidation and nepotism are the most recognizably human in the whole movie. This is the greyest black-and-white moral universe I’ve ever seen — one where the angel of death (Hartnett) is, like the movie, both handsome and cruel.

As for Rodriguez, hearty congrats. He is the first, in my opinion, to realize the so-called ‘digital dream’ — the use of the new expanded digital horizon to create a film whose like has never been seen. (Reportly relying on Eyeon’s Fusion 5 software and greenscreens.) He has proved both that graphic novels are an art form unto themselves and that film is an art form that far surpasses them in pure visceral experience. Not since 2001 has there been such a visceral movie playing in theaters. If the reported budget of $45M is true, Hollywood could afford to make a lot more dangerous and interesting movies like this. The first breaker of the Digital New Wave has left its shimmering foam on the shore. See it now1.

UPDATE 8/4/2005: Dana Leventhal on Sin City’s misogyny. [Via GreenCine Daily]

1. If possible in your city, as a double bill with Oldboy.