Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Til Dawn,
the Mariachi and Spy
Kids films) movie adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel Sin
City takes three separate storylines. Rodriguez and
Miller co-directed two segments, and the last one is helmed by the one and
only Quentin Tarantino. Even with their distinct stories, the three segments of
this comic-book-come-to-life share the same style of
story telling, location and even some
The same can be said about the Sin City's original soundtrack. The film received a noir and jazzy score
performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony, courtesy of three composers:
Rodriguez himself, Graeme Revell and John Debney. Their partnership, that
will continue on Rodriguez' The
Adventures Of Shark Boy And Lava Girl In 3-D,
worked very well
highlighting sensual sax, percussive toned piano, percussion and
orchestra with pulsating low strings that help to deliver us some dramatic
and dark music.
Despite having three different composers working
on three different storylines, each section of the soundtrack retains its
own identity and style whilst still complimenting each other. Rodriguez wrote an unusual score (for
him) for the Hartigan/Nancy Callahan story as well as the Sin City main
theme, whereas Revell scored the Marv/Goldie story and Debney scored the
Dwight/Jackie Boy story.
soundtrack album presents the tracks in the chronological order of the
movie, starting with the "Sin City Theme", a flavorful track with walking bass
lines and sax that transform it onto a darker version of the classic Mancini's
"Peter Gunn". The low strings-percussion "One Hour to Go"
follows, also written by Robert Rodriguez, which briefly introduces the
Hartigan story at the beginning of the film.
At next we have the Graeme Revell's score for the Marv/Goldie story, beginning with the
track "Goldie's Dead". "Marv" uses Rodriguez' main theme
as guiding line, while "Bury the Hatchet" is suspenseful and
percussive. This menacing cue features an interesting use of piano and
female vocals which brings to the listener a cool sense of loneliness. The
sexy sax conducts the short "Old Town Girls" that quickly leads to
"The Hard Goodbye", the longest Revell's track where the female
vocals return followed by an effective ensemble of low strings, woodwinds,
piano, horns and percussion. Until its end ("Her name is Goldie"),
Revell's part of the score has the least orchestra use, giving it a sense
of solitude and coldness, a perfect match for the Marv character.
Next, with "Dwight" comes John Debney's work, that on contrary of
Revell's score, that sounds cold and metallic, it is a more thematic and
orchestral effort with
the use of fast
paced jazz rhythms with
bongo percussion and notable use of strings, as heard in tracks such as
"Old Town" and "Jackie Boy’s Head". Also,
his more traditional approach with the use of
the orchestra makes this part of the score to seem a lot more dramatic, as
we hear at the orchestral highlights of "Warrior Woman" and "The Big Fat Kill".
In addition to the orchestra, Debney makes a fine use of bluesy sax and
trumpet, like in "Deadly Little Mind" and "Tar Pit".
Rodriguez' part of the story starts with the tracks "Nancy" and
"Prison Cell." At the beginning of this review I said this is an unusual
score for him, so listen to the strings, harp, and low-pitched piano notes
of this tracks and you will know why. The next track which follows is the
dark-techno "Absurd" by Fluke, unlike any cue of the rest of the score but a
nice addition for fans of the film. After this break Rodriguez' score
returns for the next three tracks.
"Kiss of Death" is a very cool and outrageous romantic
piano-strings composition that ends with sharp "herrmannesque"
strings. "That Yellow Bastard" is an action cue that fades in
suspense. Finally, the dramatic ascending/descending strings of "Hartigan"
lead Rodriguez' score to an more than satisfactory conclusion. Also included is the very cinematic
Silvestre Revueltas' classical piece "Sensemaya", performed by New
Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eduardo Mata. Rodriguez' main theme
makes its last appearance in "Sin City End Titles", a more longer,
the film that serves, the Sin City soundtrack is an effort that has an
unique flavor. This can be considered a genuine surprise for many soundtrack fans
but the fact is, Rodriguez combined three disparate styles into a harmonic
and cohesive whole, making this score an above the average, awesome work.