Friday, August 22, 2014

Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For - Costume Analysis

Prior to starting my post, I have an obligatory duty of announcing that an extremely minimalist trailer of Quentin Tarantino's new film, The Hateful Eight was released at the Sin City showing. It looked absolutely phenomenal and I am beyond excited.

Anyways, to carry on.


Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending an advanced screening of the Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller neo-noir delight, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For. After waiting 9 years I can safely say I was beyond excited, and finding out that the movie was going to be in 3D was icing on the cake. The movie was beautifully stylized and was such a gem to watch, and it surely is the movie of the summer. Just like it's predecessor, Sin City 2 intertwines the lives of it's most dangerous criminals and it's social elite. As much as I would love to give an encompassing movie review I have to stop myself, and in turn continue on with a costume analysis. Since the movie has just come out today, adding a broad assortment of photos may prove difficult but let's give it a go anyway.

The moment Sin City ended I knew a costume review was necessary. Shot almost entirely in black and white with subtle colour here and there to emphasize certain aspects of the story, Rodriguez's long-time costume designer Nina Proctor brought these characters to life, carefully selecting costumes that would resonate to the characters on an extremely emotional level. I have decided to touch upon the characters played by Jessica Alba, and Eva Green.

Nancy Callahan, played by the stunning Jessica Alba, returns in Sin City 2 as a tormented exotic dancer, looking to seek out vengeance for the death of her darling departed Hartigan. Proctor really brought out Callahan's turmoil through costume selection, showing her most vulnerable in stripper-wear and most fierce during her revenge scenes. 

When we first see Nancy she is, of course, dancing on stage of a seedy stripper joint in Old Town. She's wearing an extremely restricting getup of a black corset, very thin black tights and over top a contrasting white leather ribbon bound to her legs. Of course at first glance one would think it's simply a fantastic stripper outfit but it gives a glance into Callahan's internal turmoil. She is extremely lost and frail after the loss of her lover Hartigan, and bound by hate and utter vengeance. She feels constricted, much like her outfit, and turns to alcohol as the only means to sooth her pain. 

As her storyline goes on, she spirals between strong and fearless, to helpless and alone. The wigs she wears are crucial to her character as well, since the moment she takes them off she is the most vulnerable, and most alone. In a scene where she visits Hartigan's grave, Nancy wears a very simple, shapeless, and long grey dress, a long black cloak, and her natural hair free and flowing. This is when the audience gets a true glimpse of what she has become: helpless and alone with no stripper-fascade to hide her pain.

 Nearing the end of her storyline and getting very close to her revenge, Nancy undergoes an extreme transformation. Cutting off her lovely, long locks and dying them black and taking a piece of glass to her face leaving it completely scarred, Nancy has become utterly fearless. She comes out ferocious in a studded and spiked leather jacket, studded bustier, and tight, black, leather pants with studded cut outs along the side. Her character transformation is complete, and she is ready for anything. 

Ava on the the other hand, played by the stunning Eva Green, doesn't have a single gentle bone in her body and is utterly corrupt. Ava spends a good portion of the film completely nude, but when she is draped in one of her sultry outfits, her complete control over men is emphasized even further

 Ava is the ultimate "dame to kill for", with gorgeous cascading black curls, red lipstick, and ferocious green eyes. Rodriguez plays up these features even further, adding colour to her lips and eyes in this otherwise monochromatic black and white world. When she is clothed, her outfit selection comes as literally a beacon of colour, mesmerizing the male inhabitants of Sin City. Her costumes play a huge role in this movie, being one of the few characters to have colour in their wardrobes, and she works it to her advantage. When we first see Ava, all eyes are on her. She enters a bar wearing a stunning blue, ankle-length, and belted coat dress with a circular belt buckle. We still don't know of her corrupt nature but we can clearly tell the hold and breathtaking power she has. The outfit pays homage to the noir film starlets of the past, with an air of delicate femininity. This is in striking contrast to the bold use of colour in this world, making her instantly thrilling to see. 

 As the movie continues and we see the hold she has on men, her wardrobe selection plays the part too, leaving these men speechless and constantly taunted by silky slips and robes. She begins seducing characters in her white robe, still maintaining a slight air of innocence and playing up her role of damsel in distress. The more she becomes desperate however, her selection of clothing goes darker, and so does her slip and robe. She's reaching the end of her reign, become increasingly more soulless and empty.

These two female leads are only a quick glimpse at this mesmerizing world, and every character is bound to enthral the viewer. Nancy and Ava are both dames to kill for, and both have men doing their bidding and literally murdering others. Dress them up or dress them down, the way these women look and act is crucial in progressing the movie. Whether they're dressed to the nines or not dressed at all, their looks could definitely kill.


  1. So cool! 9 years ago I was to young to see the first one, my parents wouldn't allow it. I will have to check it out and see the sequel! ;)

    God bless,
    XO, Claire

  2. Totally want to see this! Jessica Alba is fabulous!

    <3 Shannon

  3. I must say your style of writing is very impressive! You have a fantastic blog and all the pictures are wonderful! Loved everything!

    Would you like to follow each other via bloglovin, gfc, instagram, twitter, facebook and g+? Do visit my blogs and let me know in comments where you follow and I will follow back from both my blog!


  4. You have a fantastic blog and all the pictures are wonderful! Loved everything!

    Would you like to follow each other via bloglovin, gfc, instagram, twitter, facebook and g+? Do visit my blogs and let me know in comments where you follow and I will follow back from both my blog!


  5. It looks amazing, Jessica Alba is fabulous on these pics. :)
    Fashion Happenss

  6. What a wonderful review! I think it looks like a really cool film! Love the way it is filmed in black and white and the little additions of color! I will have to check it out!


  7. First time visits here, nice blog and sharing, I wish you to have a happy day~ =D

    (A Growing Teenager Diary Malaysia)

  8. Interesting Review! Love Jessica Alba ,she is great!
    i follow new ,mind follow back? :)

    Lovely Greets!

  9. great post - i really wanna watch this film!

    from helen at // blog sale

    ps. enter my £300 rayban and beauty goodies giveaway! click here.

  10. What a great review! I love looking at fashion in movies! So cool! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  11. So lovely, this blog:)
    I was wondering, would you like to follow each other on GFC / FB?
    If yes, follow me and let me know! I'll follow back instantly:)

  12. How cool! I have not seen the first one but it looks awesome!

  13. Thanks a bunch for stopping by my blog!! I'm following you now on gfc, bloglovin and instagram! Hope you will follow me back on all!! :)

    Keep in touch

  14. Fantastic review, I really enjoyed reading it. I liked the original movie and I think I will this one as well ( I'm starting to think we have a similar taste in movies:)

    I love how you connect the characters with the outfits... I always believed that clothes are sometimes as psychological as language (and the father of linguistics did say that everything about language is psychological)

    Eva Green is the ultimate femme fatale...I remember my impression after seeing the second 300 movie- it was crap but seeing Eva Green and her costumes made up for it...she looks amazing in dark outfits.

    1. Haha, I'm starting to think we have the same taste in movies too! Thank you for your splendid comment, it's nice to see how someone else notices clothes and how they relate to character.

      Ps, Eva Green is the best!



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