Reuniting with Mickey Rourke 29 years later
Once upon a time I had a crush on Mickey Rourke. It was in 1983 and I was 16 years old and laid my eyes on him in Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish. He was the Motorcycle Boy with sad eyes, a gentle smile and just a little bit too old and dangerous for my own safety.
My crush lasted a few more years through 9 1/2 weeks and Angel Heart and then I lost track of him for many, many years. I think he went for boxing instead, though imdb says that he also kept doing movies meanwhile. They probably weren’t all that successful.
But Mickey Rourke wasn’t the only remarkable thing about Rumble Fish. I also remember it for being very stylish, all shot in black and white, apart from a couple of fishes which were displayed in glowing colors. For years Rumble Fish was my favorite movie thanks to the style and Rourke’s bittersweetness. To be honest I don’t remember much else of it anymore, but when I did my top 100 list I included it, just for old friendship and in honour of the 16 year old me.
A lot of style
The other night I reunited with Mickey Rourke in Sin City. He had aged, but who hasn’t? One thing was the same as on our first meeting though: it was the most stylish movie I’ve seen for a very long time and just like Rumble Fish it was shot in black and white with only a few dashes of colour just for effect.
But the magic wasn’t quite the same and it wasn’t just that Rourke had lost his sex appeal. I guess I’m not quite as easily seduced by style anymore. I ended up admiring Sin City more than I loved it.
I know this movie has quite a few fans and I bet some of them are having coffee in this café at this very moment, getting it in the wrong throat as they read this. What is this lady saying, you may wonder? Doesn’t she LOVE this spectacular adaptation of Frank Miller’s comics? It’s brilliant! It brings the art of turning graphic novels into movies to a new level! It’s as if the drawings are coming alive! Did you ever see anything blacker, slicker, darker, prettier? What is there not to love about it?
Well, let me put it this way: I was on my toes for the first 15 minutes, my jawed dropped, at awe with the sheer beauty of it. And the violence I’d heard so much about didn’t affect me very much. It’s not the over-the-top acts that make me nauseous. So what if someone gets turned into a pez dispenser, their head hanging in a thin slice? It’s just a fantasy. (On the other hand show me a father slapping his son or a man raping a woman and I’ll want cover my face.)
Lack of heart
My problem wasn’t the violence. My problem was the lack of heart. The film consists of four short stories. They’re told with the biggest amount of voiceover I’ve ever encountered in a movie and I think this might be one of the reasons why the movie had a sedative effect on me as soon as the initial jaw-dropping effect had worn off. All that reading aloud was as soothing as any goodnight story and I caught myself having stopped paying attention, dangerously close to falling asleep. Time after time I had to rewind and go back to where I had dropped the ball in order to make sure I’d watched the entire movie. For being a movie that includes a lot of action, violence, bad deeds, drama, sex and revenge it was strangely uninvolving, not to say boring.
It’s hard to put a fair grade after such an experience.
Let me put it this way: I would happily recommend Sin City to anyone who has an interest above the average for comics or films. It feels like a “must-see”, one in a kind. But on the other hand, I can’t hide that I didn’t connect with it. Not even with Mickey Rourke.
Sin City (Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez, US, 2005) My rating: 4/5