Sin City

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Sin City Movie Poster Image
Extremely violent movie with tons of sex, disturbing scenes.
  • R
  • 2005
  • 126 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 38 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 29 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The "good guys" in the movie are flawed characters rooted in "noir" traditions. There are prostitutes, sexual predators, cannibal serial killers, pedophiles, men who are physically abusive to their girlfriends, a corrupt politician, corrupt priests, and corrupt police officers. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Women are strong and capable but also mostly hookers and/or nude. Overall, characters are too cartoonish and "noir" to be viewed as positive role models.

Violence

Extreme, intense, constant, and graphic violence; torture, suicide, dismemberment, references to cannibalism, child molestation, and rape. A serial killer captures women, hangs their heads on the wall as trophies, and there's talk of him eating the women. Sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl strongly implied. A woman's hand is cut off by this serial killer; she mentions how he sucked the meat off her fingers. Frequent gore.

Sex

Female nudity. Most of the women in the movie are prostitutes. 

Language

Frequent profanity, including "s--t" and "d--k," and the use of homophobic slurs such as "fag" and "dyke." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking, of beer and from flasks. Cigarette smoking. Prescription drug abuse.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sin City is an extremely violent movie with constant, intense, and exceptionally graphic battles and all-out butchery and slaughter. Body parts are sliced off (and eaten, off-camera). People are wounded and killed in just about every possible way, including being electrocuted, stabbed, impaled, shot, dumped into a tar pit, and sliced up. There are severed heads and other body parts. There are references to child rape and cannibalism. The film also includes female nudity, strippers, prostitutes, sexual references, and sexual situations as well as frequent profanity, including "s--t" and "d--k," and the use of homophobic slurs such as "fag" and "dyke." Characters drink and smoke and abuse prescription drugs. They also lie, cheat, steal, extort, and violate as many laws as can be packed into one movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySettingXSail January 11, 2009
Parent of a 2 year old Written byDesiredLoginName January 8, 2009
Teen, 14 years old Written bydoodle321 September 12, 2009

i really don't know... if it's good for tweens

i can't really seem to fins any thing good or bad about this movie but i know i love it, really it all depends on the person. no i wouldn't let my kid... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 March 3, 2012

Too over the top to be very explicit

Stylized violence, a bit over the top. Strong sexual content and nudity

What's the story?

Two of today's greatest stylists join forces in an audacious synthesis of graphic novel and movie set in a world where the villains are unspeakably evil, the heroes are compromised and overmatched, and the city is filled with corruption but the country is even worse. SIN CITY's three stories about heroes battling overwhelming odds circle around each other, amplify each other, and ultimately intersect. Marv (Mickey Rourke) is a gigantic brute of a man who likes to fight. He has one perfect night of love with a golden-haired prostitute who says she wants him. But the next morning, he wakes up to find her murdered. The world always seems incomprehensible and dreamlike to Marv, especially when he thinks he sees his Goldie again. But this woman says she's her twin sister. Marv knows -- he thinks he knows -- that justice requires him to kill the people who murdered his angel, no matter what the cost. John (Bruce Willis) is a cop about to retire. But he can't go until he finds a way to rescue a little girl named Nancy from a man who molests and kills children but is protected by the forces that control Sin City. And Dwight (Clive Owen) is a man who has angered his girlfriend's predatory and abusive ex-boyfriend (Benicio Del Toro). Their dispute will shred the fragile compromise between the corrupt cops and the gang bosses that allows the prostitutes to control their own section of Sin City.

Is it any good?

Robert Rodriguez and codirector Frank Miller (the writer/artist of the Sin City graphic novels) create a faithful, shot-for-shot rendition of each stunning panel. Hard, resolute voice-overs accompany stark, inky images. There are brief flashes and flutters of color -- red for brake-lights, a heart-shaped bed, a lightning-streaked sky, a sleek getaway car, and blood. There's also yellow for the golden curls of a dead prostitute and the jaundiced skin of a cowardly villain, whose toxic perversions have turned him the color of bile. This is a masterpiece of technique, bravura filmmaking with sure and complete mastery of tone, setting, and mood. A lesser cast would be lost, even invisible, but Rourke, Willis, and especially Owen are every bit as arresting as the images around them. Most of the female characters are more props than characters, but Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba make strong impressions.

The film is overwhelming at times, intentionally keeping viewers off-kilter by combining grand heroics, stunning beauty, hideous grotesquerie, outrageous butchery, toughness and innocence, tragedy and comedy. This is a movie where a man's hand is sliced off, and then he slips on it like a banana peel. It exists precisely on the edge between exploitation and artistic statement, ultimately saving itself from toppling over with the sincerity of its tone, the beauty of its images, and the honor of its heroes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring appeal of such dark stories and characters and the way that codirectors Miller and Rodriguez use the settings and the camera to create mood and character.

  • How is this movie rooted in traditions of the "noir" novels and films of the 1940s and '50s? 

  • How is the dark side of humanity shown in this movie? What is the purpose in showing such extreme violence? What would be gained or lost had the movie been less violent? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love action and adventure

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate