The Spirit Reviews
Frank Miller's adaptation of the antique comic strip by Will Eisner is brash, noisy and so alarmingly ill-paced that it should, by rights, come with a software package that allows viewers to recut it as they see fit.
Miller, comics-writing icon turned director, has rendered comics-industry revolutionary Will Eisner's crime fighter Denny Colt a grim shade of dull -- all talk, no action
The incomprehensible plot has something to do with a stolen elixir of eternal life. But that's beside the point, since all the director cares about is the film's noirish look and pulp fiction feel.
Maybe if there was something going with the dialogue -- snappy Chandlerisms, say, or even just sentences that made sense -- the fussy digital artifice of The Spirit wouldn't seem so, well, dispiriting.
It's not easy to make a thriller that's both incredibly convoluted and intensely boring, laboriously narrated yet befuddled, but Miller -- creator and co-director of Sin City -- triumphs on all counts.
How do you critique acting that's willfully bad, a story that's purposefully crazy and dialogue that sets out to be stilted and cliched? You say The Spirit looks great but there's not much else there.
Pushing well past the point of self-parody, Miller has done Will Eisner's pioneering comicstrip no favors by drenching it in the same self-consciously neo-noir monochrome put to much more compelling use in Sin City.
Frank Miller on the big screen is like Scratchy or wasabi or a bass player -- he doesn't work on his own. He needs a partner, or some diluting ingredients, or maybe a restraining order.