I haven’t yet seen Sin City, but I enjoyed this comment, by someone named Brian, at 2blowhards.com:
What I found interesting was the way Sin City demonstrated what film can do by revealing what comics can’t:
No POV/reactions – I don’t recall a single point-of-view/reaction cut in the entire film, and it’s this exchange between what the character is seeing and how he is reacting that draws us into the character’s mind. (See Rear Window, for instance.) Sin City had none of these exchanges because they don’t work in comics, and as a result we didn’t identify with the characters as much as we might have.
No crosscutting – Ever since The Great Train Robbery, one of the fundamental powers of film has been the presention of simultaneous action. But every shot in Sin City was sequential to the one before and after it. For instance, in any normal film the scene of Bruce Willis hanging from the ceiling would have been crosscut with the goons approaching: Bruce struggles, goons get closer, Bruce struggles some more, goons get closer still, and all the while the tension mounts. Again, you can’t do this in a comic, and therefore some of the suspense sequences (not action, but suspense) weren’t as nail-biting as they coulda been otherwise.
No moving camera – Or very little. Occasionally the camera would move to follow a character in motion, but it never moved to reveal new information or alter the screen space. Funny that you mentioned Touch of Evil in your review – I was thinking about it a lot during Sin City. ToE has one six-minute shot in the Mexican boy’s apartment which follows the actors through three rooms and goes from wide angle long shots to tight closeups and back again. Movement creates mood. Can’t do this in comic books either.
No blocking – The actors mostly just stood there and yakked where they stood, just as they’d been drawn. No Spielbergian ballets, no Wellesian waltzes. This plus the mostly static camera gave the film a curiously undynamic feel, considering the subject matter.