Today’s Prayer Focus

Sin City

also known as “Frank Miller’s Sin City,” “La ciudad del pecado,” “Une histoire de Sin City,” “Sin City - A Cidade do Pecado,” See more »
MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for sustained strong stylized violence, nudity and sexual content including dialogue.

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Crime Action Drama Adaptation
Length: 2 hr. 6 min.
Year of Release: 2005
USA Release: April 1, 2005
Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films

What is sin?

Forgiveness of sin

The origin of sin and depravity

Do Not Enter
Forbidden Area
Don’t click here

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

Hope in the Bible

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on Christian Answers—full-length motion picture.

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

About murder in the Bible

Death in the Bible

Final judgment

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

What do Hollywood celebrities believe about spiritual issues? Find out

Why is there a disconnect between Hollywood and the rest of America? Answer

What is being done to change the values of Hollywood? Answer

Am I good enough to go to Heaven?

Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films
Featuring Jessica Alba (Nancy Callahan), Alexis Bledel (Becky), Rosario Dawson (Gail), Benicio Del Toro (Jackie Boy), Clive Owen (Dwight), Mickey Rourke (Marv), Bruce Willis (Hartigan), Elijah Wood (Kevin), Devon Aoki (Miho), Powers Boothe (Senator Roark), Rutger Hauer (Cardinal Roark), Michael Madsen (Bob), Makenzie Vega (Nancy, Age 11), See all »
Director Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Producer Dimension Films, Troublemaker Studios, Elizabeth Avellán, Bill Scott, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Distributor: Dimension Films. Trademark logo.
Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company

Prequel/Sequel: “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (2014)

This really strange and horrific film is based on a graphic novel (comic book) series that I knew nothing about. But it doesn’t take long to see where the movie is headed, and the interlocking stories and plots aren’t that complicated. Robert Rodriguez (“El Mariachi”; “Desperado;” “From Dusk Till Dawn”) directed, while Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill”) is listed as a Special Guest Director, and the novel creator Frank Miller is listed as an apparently-honorary Co-director. That alone should warn the squeamish to beware.

The film was shot entirely “green screen” and has many clearly computer-generated yet stunning backgrounds. It’s presented in B&W with just an occasional splash of color (some true-color and some stylized). The dialogue is cheesy, but after a while you get used to it and it sounds authentic within the context of the story. Imagine a hard-R version of the “Tracer Bullet” sequences in “Calvin and Hobbes.” As a ShowBiz person, I admit I was intrigued by the technical and artistic aspects. The cinematography and special effects are perfect, and the acting is uniformly good (deliberately stilted and comic-book style, but everyone is on the same page).

The setting is not Vegas, but a large city full of skyscrapers. The place’s actual name is Basin City, but the first two letters on the city limits sign are blurred out.

There are three distinct yet overlapping primary storylines, plus some minor material. Each of the primary storylines has one male “hero” character: John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) is a cop, Dwight (Clive Owen) is apparently a P.I., and Marv (Mickey Rourke) is just a street fighter. In all three cases, they’re on personal missions, operating outside the law as vigilantes. In the “Old Town” sequence, Dwight is helped in his quest by a collection of tough, leather-clad hookers who have an understanding with the cops that they take care of their own problems within their “turf.”

Although the heroes are better than the bad guys and are in some cases willing to sacrifice their own lives for others, they’re morally flawed antiheroes. Hartigan saves an 11-year-old girl from a rapist/murderer (Nick Stahl), and then further helps her by taking the rap for something he didn’t do; eight years later, the girl (Jessica Alba) is an exotic dancer, has carried a crush on Hartigan all this time, and wants to sleep with him. He protests (“I’m old enough to be your grandfather”), and partly holds out but partly gives in. Tough-guy Marv is asleep with a woman after having sex with her, when a stealthy little guy, Kevin (Elijah Wood), creeps in silently and murders her. Kevin is a cannibal and has a collection of hookers’ heads mounted on his wall. His protector, Roman Catholic Cardinal Roark (Rutger Hauer), is a cannibal, also.

In short, with bad guys this bad, characters who in another context would be bad guys become good guys by contrast. A common cinematic trick, used to perfection here.

There are several instances of women in only thongs or g-strings, with graphic breast and buttock nudity. There’s at least one instance of simulated sex, a lot of implied sex, and a great deal of sexual-themed tension throughout.

The violence is deliberately graphic and exploitative, with a high body count and all kinds of blood-splatter, and a lot of it has sexual overtones. Wounding, torture and death by guns, knives, explosions, blunt instruments, arrows, hanging, electrocution, “dirty swirlies,” and even being eaten alive by dogs. Severed arms, legs and heads. One man’s throat is cut so he’s ALMOST decapitated, and there’s joking about him being a Pez Dispenser. One man shoots another man’s genitals off; and in a later confrontation between the two, after the genitals have been surgically restored, he rips off the new set with his bare hand.

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

The street language is very rough, and includes about 100 profanities plus a lot of fancy innuendo, but it could have been much worse. With everything that’s being shown on screen, too much talking about it would probably be redundant.

The negative themes include disrespect for authority, as the story emphasizes corrupt cops, corrupt politicians and corrupt clergy. There are also themes of lesbianism and sadomasochism. There’s no positive spiritual content.

Since the story is comic-book based, some characters perform superhuman feats (impossible martial arts moves; jumping from great heights without harm; staying alive after multiple bullet wounds). One character, who is clearly dead, keeps waking up and talking. (There are other instances of people being alive after being dead, but that may be due to the overlapping storylines being presented somewhat out of sequence.)

Whatever I’ve described here, it’s inadequate to fully convey the force of the film. It has no overall purpose, other than pushing the envelope just for the sake of “art.” It didn’t need to be made, and no one needs to see it. A mature adult who lives right and who has absolutely no imbalances or secret sins could possibly watch it with a minimum of personal side-effects. Anyone else REALLY needs to stay as far away from this kind of material as possible.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This is one of the most visually entertaining films I have ever seen. from the first frame this film jumps off the screen and never holds back. the black and white mixed with colors is brilliant, there isn’t a dull moment in this film. Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood have never been better. this is a must see even for those not into comic book movies, it is just a wonderful film.
My Ratings: Offensive/5
Kalin, age 31
Positive—Certainly this film falls far from the world of Christian ideals, and the morality of most of the characters far from meets the Christian ideal. However, Art does not always represent how things should be or present us with the ideal perfect world. Art can help us to see how the world truly is. This film helps us to understand the True Evils that are present in the world. The world is full of misguided martyrdom, corrupt police, government officials and clergy, greed based sociopathic personalities, and conflicts of interest brought on by selfish behaviors.

As a more Gnostic style Christian, I believe that this film portrays the evils of the world, in exaggerated form, in a form that strikes at the heart more readily that the abstract evils of corporate irresponsibility and even the atrocity of pedophile clergy.See all »
My Ratings: Excellent!/5
Jay Clouse, age 25
Positive—Anyone who complains about the violence misses the fact that this is a modern morality tale, much akin to the way “Double Indemnity” was. Bad guys are punished. Those who help bad guys, aka “Becky” or “Cardinal Roak” are punished as well. Sacrifice is a very prominent theme amidst a city populated with self-centered individuals. It is so over-stylized to emphasize the incredible choices they are making and how much trouble they are willing to get themselves into for others. That is simply the style of filmmaking, not some kind of wallowing in depravity. No one squirts blood out like that when shot. Throwing stars, no matter how sharp, cannot cut off people’s hands. Please look at the piece in its entirety and understand the filmmaker is not always saying, “Hey, the person in the movie did this. You should too!!” Robert Rodriguiz is a Christian and most of his movies have some sort of reference to Christianity.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/4
Matt, age 25
Positive—…This is the most popular sort of movie—the story of anti-heroes who unknowingly perform a greater good despite being motivated by personal demons. The other Hollywood stereotype is a decent, moral person who loses control and is sympathized with, but punished severely in the end (“Falling Down,” etc.); yet in “Sin City” the characters themselves bring about their own demise. Hartigan shoots himself to protect the future of a young girl; Marv knows he will be executed, but must expunge the city of the cannibalistic Cardinal Rourke. This is just a 40’s film noir flick with the accent on comic-book violence.

The exaggerated violence is no different that comic books, where characters endure illogical amounts of abuse, but in the next panel are begging for more.See all »
My Ratings: Very Offensive/5
Mitch Ogletree, age 19
Positive—I have the advantage of looking on this as both a Christian (I am a confirmed Catholic) and a film maker. I personally am a very open minded person so, although I found parts of the film disturbing, I wasn’t offended by it and would happily recommend it. Several of my friends who I have recommended it to have also enjoyed it, I haven’t heard a bad report on it yet. The film is telling a story about a city that has lost its moral ground and is a real eye opener to what COULD happen if things slip too far. I was brought up in a Catholic family and was taught from an early age to respect God, respect your elders, respect authority, never steal, never kill etc. so what happens in the film, I will not and cannot do, but I understand why they do it.See all »
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Haven, age 22
Neutral—“Sin City” is a masterpiece of cinematography. The story plot is dirty, but the pain these characters feel is real. The biggest problem I found was nudity and over-kill with violence. Towards the end, John beats “Yellow Bastard” to a golden pulp-I almost wretched. This movie is too intense and it made me cry, laugh, and even hate. Not suitable for anyone under 18 or easily offended. I’m a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez, but this movie was more gory than “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” (it was a blood-bath). In the end, I strongly advise those of faith to not watch this film. The violence is overwhelming and so is the innuendo.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/5
Cheryl, age 19
Neutral—Sin City, was an odd movie. My husband was dying to see it, so we went last night! I did my homework and prepared myself for the movie. I’m not offended by violence or gore, especially to the extreme extent that this movie portrayed it. One of the comments above is right, in the fact that almost all of it would never be able to happen. A man could not punch a guy so hard that his head flattens, and neither could someone be as conscious as Willis was after being shot in the chest and back several times.

The worst and most unnecessary part to me is the nudity. There are numerous times where frontal nudity is shown, also many many rear ends in thongs, nothing, or or covered by fishnet. I did not want to see this movie because of the nudity. The prostitutes are very sleazy. Their costumes are almost comical, in that they don’t have a realistic take.See all »
My Ratings: Offensive/4
Cristyn, age 21
Negative—…From a technical standpoint: it is one of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen. From a moral standpoint: it’s so deep in the gutter, there’s absolutely nothing redeeming about it. It’s a movie I appreciated, but it’s not for everyone. I would only recommend it to mature adult christians who are not easily offended.

Here is a partial list of offenses: nudity, profanity, cannibalism, violent killings, decapitations, castrations, and excessive gore (a la Tarentino).See all »
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/5
Todd, age 31
Negative—This movie was disgusting and depraved. I would not recommend it for any Christian to watch. I thought it was going to be different. I’m actually upset with myself because I should have known better. As the psalmist writes, “I shall place no wicked thing before mine eyes.” This movie was nothing but wicked. I’m sorry that I wasted 9 bucks on this garbage. Nothing but garbage. I didn’t see the movie in its entirety because I walked out for a few minutes, and when I returned I took a nap. I would have just left, but I didn’t have my car with me because I hopped in with a friend. Otherwise I would have left. Disgusting movie, good artistically and technically, etc. But morally depraved, full of nothing but the worst kind of junk you could think of.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/4
James Montalto, age 28
Negative—Wow. Just, Wow. I have seen a lot of violent movies, but this one really take the cake. People have had a problem with movies like Saw. In comparison to this film, Saw should be rated G. I haven’t seen anything this violent since “Final Destination 2.” (A disgusting film) Here is what I remember seeing…
  • A man has his genitals ripped off
  • A man gets shot in the genitals
  • A man gets his arm shot off, with LOADS of bloodspray
  • A man is dragged from a speeding car
  • A priest is shot in a confessional
  • A woman has a chunk of her neck bitten off
  • A man gets his face beaten so badly he doesn’t even have a skull anymore. Just a pile of blood and some gore.
  • A man has his arms and legs cut off, then his remains are eaten by dogs.
I’m not usually offended by violence, but this was just sadistic and wrong. The “heroes” of the movie were not likable at all, they seemed more like villains. The only likable characters in the film were Nancy, played by Jessica Alba and Becky, I don’t know the name of the actress who played her.

Morally, I found it wrong, and from an entertainment standpoint, I found it to be very boring and slow.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/5
Chris McRae, age 20
Negative—This movie is visually and technically amazing. Morally, however, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. No Christian has an excuse for seeing this movie. Art is not an excuse to put filth in your mind. A previous review said that only mature christians who are not easily offended should see this move… I think a very mature christian would probably walk out within 5 minutes. Don’t see this movie if you call yourself a Christian.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/5
Rob, age 18
Negative—I viewed this movie, and I think Hollywood is gone to the dogs because everything is full of sex… I couldn’t watch it all because it was terrible, and a waste of money.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/1
Melissa, age 28
Negative—This movie is for nobody. Not for the non-Christians, because it keeps them away from God longer. Not for the beginner Christians, because it will confuse them. And not for the mature christians, because it will tempt them to stay away from God longer or interfere with the relationship with God. If I were a non-Christian critic, I would say it is a masterpiece (in its art and acting), but because I know better I must not only stay away from such movies, but also warn others who want to serve God whole-heartedly.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/5
Chris Martens, age 21
Comments from young people
Positive—wow… the way u people are so afraid of this movie and movies like it. pretty idiotic it seems to me. Tell me something, if everyone in here is so faithful why are they so afraid to go watch movies like this. I’m christian and proud of it too, but I believe a good christian should really be afraid of anything like this because their faith overcomes it. Telling people to not watch certain movies blinds them from the truth. We all want to believe that this world is a perfect place but its not. For example, the Da Vinci code. why are so many people offended by it? It is a book of fiction. some things can potentially be true, but isn’t that a good thing? as GOOD christians we should not be afraid to watch a movie and read books. If not then we would all just be drones in this society.

I watched tons and tons of movies like this, and I still believe in my God and put faith in him. I am not saying I am better than any of you, I’m am just saying we should all open our eyes see the real world, and not be so narrow minded. btw for those against me please feel free to share ur opinion.
My Ratings: Excellent!/5
anonymous, age 18

Response from a reader—After reading some of the reviews on this page, the one above in particular, I felt compelled to reply. Where in the Bible does it state that our faith overcomes the filth that we set before ourselves? You obviously aren’t thinking of Philippians 4:8, the verse that says,

“whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

That is the verse that many true Christians think about when they choose not to pollute their minds with obscene filth, such as that that is portrayed in “Sin City.”

Nor does choosing not to watch such movies blind people from the truth. All you have to do is read the front page of any newspaper to get a taste of the horrific sinfulness that abounds in this world. I know only too well that this world is a sinful place. I don’t need to further confirm it by watching or reading vile material.

“Sin City’s” purpose is not to open our minds to the dire world we live in. Its purpose is to entertain. If you want a real taste of the true condition of this Earth, get out of the comfort of the movie theater and go spend some time in Iraq. Go read about the concentration camps of World War II. That’s more than enough for me.

Kristine, age 16

Negative—I went to see this movie with my friend and her dad during spring break to kill time in between one of our practices. I hadn’t seen any of the previews but my friend thought it would be fun so I went with her. About half an hour into the movie me and my friend started getting really bored, the self-narrating and switching stories made it difficult to follow and be interested in. Then there were several shots of shirtless women, it was all very disgusting. My friends dad asked us if we wanted to leave about 45 min. into the movie and we did. This is the only movie I have ever walked out on. Please don’t waste your time and money on something that totally disrespects your morals and values.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/3
Lexi Kitmin, age 16
Positive—…If you are seeing this movie for the purpose of finding some kind of christian message in this movie you shouldn’t even SEE this movie… Movies are made for entertainment, and this movie hit the nail on the head. I am a Christian and have read some of the graphic novels, and from the transition from novel to movie a LOT of nudity was edited.

…during Dwight McCarthy’s story because there is no indication of him being a P.I. He says in the movie and I quote “If you’re a murderer with a new face who’s one fingerprint check away from the fast track to the gas chamber like I am…” I don’t know about the rest of you… but that doesn’t exactly point ME in the direction of a P.I.

In the long run, if you are an open minded person with a strong stomach you should enjoy this movie, especially if you are looking at it from an artistic perspective.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
Patrick, age 18
Positive—When sitting back and looking at the movie, you must first realize it is primarily metaphorical, such as the corrupted clergy and police… an exaggeration of reality (and isn’t that what we look for in movies? an excellent exaggeration of reality for entertainment?)

Consider this, the “hero’s” of the story were trying to protect the innocent, regardless of physical, emotion, financial and other forms of damage they could experience in doing so… self-sacrificing for those in need. I have read the graphic novel many times, and from an artistic point of view, both the book and the movie are ground breakers in all forms, color, points of view, dialog (though harsh at times, it is never intended to be racist of sexist… mainly to emphasize feelings, not to offend)

I would say that you should watch this movie with an open mind, but that would be wrong… watch it with a different mind, one that is not of conservative and god fearing (don’t fear god, chill with god… he made you, so he’s your friend… he is definitely not here to punish you… so don’t fear him!) but instead watch it with a mindset full of insight, ask yourself what would you do if you were in their shoes (and had the ability to take beatings as well as they did…

it’s fantasy people, not reality… so use your imaginations here) So I encourage anyone with a stable and creative mind to go see this film, discuss it metaphorically (because that is how it is intended to be taken) and to embrace some of it’s highly creative artistic aspects.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/5
Matt, age 17
Response from a reader—In response to 17 year old Matt’s comments [above] that said “not to fear God but rather just chill with God, and that God is not going to punish us for anything we do.” Sorry that is just WRONG! The Bible says WE ARE to fear God and to abstain from ALL APPEARANCE of evil.

That just reflects a lot of the “modern” Christianity that’s going around today. Don’t people read the Bible anymore? God is a God of love, but also of JUDGMENT. and it says in the Bible that we will all be HELD ACCOUNTABLE for our works—whether they be good or evil. Oh, and by the way, it also says that God WILL PUNISH the wicked! I have never seen this movie, but from what I have read from the other reviewers your conscience would have to be pretty numb to see this as a Christian and say that it’s okay! That’s what Satan says… just chill with God… do it if it feels good! There’s nothing to fear… not even God!
P. David, age 36
Response from reader—I’ve always been taught to not compromise with the world. So I guess I will be the first to say that I haven’t seen the movie, don’t plan on seeing it anytime soon! Christian do need to stand out in the world today. If we don’t then why should an unsaved person want to be saved! If we fall into place just like everyone else, what have we accomplished? Just ask yourself before entering any movie, would I take Jesus in here to this movie? If you are a true Christian and have seen the movie, you all ready have. So stop trying to justify why you saw it and start taking a stand for the One who gave up His life for us so that we may have eternal life! The Holy Spirit will lead you in the right direction. All you have to do is listen.
Candi, age 30
Response from reader—The very name should serve as a hazard marker. I have not seen any of Sin City, except for what can be salvaged from the trailers, and for good reason. From what I’ve read, this movie is one of the most horrendous of recent times to grace the obscene screens of American movie theaters.

Making appearances are women whose scanty attire leave nothing to the imagination (and when I say nothing, I mean NOTHING), demented cannibals (yes, cannibals), bloodied corpses, gushes of profanity, mattresses full of sexual content, what more is there? This movie just barely squeaked by without an NC-17 rating. No, it didn’t squeak by. It was cheated. This is an NC-17 movie in the disguise of an R rated one, which would be bad enough.

I do not see how any true christian could sit through this movie without their conscience practically picking them and carrying them out of the theater. Watch at your own risk, but be warned; your mind and soul will pay the price.
Pixie, age 16
Movie Critics
…some audiences—especially those who dislike excessive screen violence—won’t be amused or mollified by this movie’s technique, style or spirit of fun. Be forewarned: Sin City is an evil place, full of awful people…
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
…Depraved movie lives up to its title… a blisteringly violent movie with an anti-social, anti-Christian perspective…
Eddie Turner, Movieguide
…a stunning, visceral piece of work—cheap thrills polished to the level of high art…
Ty Burr, Boston Globe
…This isn’t an adaptation of a comic book, it’s like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids…
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…without doubt the most visually stunning live action transfer of the comic book format to the big screen ever made…
…visually intoxicating…
Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution