Sin city
Music composed by Robert Rodriguez, Graeme Revell and John Debney, conducted by John Debney and Bruce Babcock
Label: Varèse Sarabande
302 066 644 2
Year: 2005

1. Sin City (Rodriguez)  
2. One Hour to Go (Rodriguez) 
3. Goldie’s Dead (Revell) 
4. Marv (Revell/Rodriguez) 
5. Bury the Hatchet (Revell) 
6. Old Town Girls (Revell/Rodriguez) 
7. The Hard Goodbye (Revell) 
8. Cardinal Sin (Revell/Rodriguez) 
9. Her Name is Goldie (Revell) 
10. Dwight (Debney) 
11. Old Town (Debney/Rodriguez) 
12. Deadly Little Mino (Debney/Rodriguez) 
13. Warrior Woman (Debney) 
14. Tar Pit (Debney) 
15. Jackie Boy’s Head (Debney) 
16. The Big Fat Kill (Debney) 
17. Nancy (Rodriguez) 
18. Prison Cell (Rodriguez) 
19. Absurd (Fluke) 
20. Kiss of Death (Rodriguez) 
21. That Yellow Bastard (Rodriguez) 
22. Hartigan (Rodriguez) 
23. Sensemaya (Silvestre Revueltas) 
24. Sin City End Titles
Total Time: 58:14

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha


The 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 characters.

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. 

The 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".

Robert 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, rock-oriented version.

Like 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.