Violence in the movies is something that's usually well-advertised. Whether it's "Saving Private Ryan" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," the ticket-buyer usually knows what's in store. The title of the latest weekend box-office champ, "Sin City," might give you a clue (as would the R rating), but viewers are leaving the theater shocked at the gratuitous level of violence and sexual depravity in the film.
One stunned friend guessed that if the filmmakers didn't reduce the shock a little by filming in black and white, "there's no way it would be an R-rated movie instead of an NC-17." They even change the color of blood, making it black, white or yellow to "suit the mood."
On one Web site where average Joes rate the flicks, you can sense the revulsion. One wrote, "It relishes in the violence to the point that it becomes sadistic mayhem for the sake of sadistic mayhem." But the show's target audience had a different, disgusting reaction: "I laughed when I should have been gasping in horror -- sicko that I am -- two severed limbs up for me."
It's depressing to think of Hollywood executives in a business meeting trying to calculate how to please people like this, when they should be hustling them off to therapy.
"Gore City" might be a better title if advertising were the only goal. The film is hailed as a faithful recreation of the dark comic-book series "Sin City" by Frank Miller. Since there's nothing comical about mass murder, the purveyors prefer the more serious-sounding term "graphic novel," with the emphasis here on "graphic." The director at the helm of this boat, steering his way through the blood flood, is Robert Rodriguez, who leads a whiplash-inducing double life, creating gory adult movies as well as the wildly popular "Spy Kids" trilogy.