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Dames to Kill For (and who Kill!)

by Dave Elliott


With the rise in open declaration of support for feminism, there has been a huge drive for strong female representation in film and television. Hollywood appears to be openly embracing female action stars at the moment, and numbers are increasing in television too. HBO’s Game of Thrones cast features a variety of female leads, with Lena Headey as fierce-tongued Cersei Lannister and Emilia Clarke as headstrong Daenerys Targaryen being fan favourites. Even David Cameron has got in on the act by attempting to reshuffle more female figures into his cabinet because in 2014 everyone loves a woman in power.

Studios appear to have noticed the gravitational pull of strong females in film and TV and are reflecting this in their recent casting. At the end of August, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For hits cinemas across the globe and boasts a high number of females in its cast. Released just before the Bank Holiday weekend, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For will go head to head with Luc Besson’s Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson – the new go-to girl for action films. Both are bound to do well if recent statistics prove true.

In March, the Motion Picture Association of America announced that last year women accounted for 52%* of all moviegoers in the US. Even Young stars like Chloe Grace Moretz and Jennifer Lawrence have managed to hold their own in popular action film franchises. Films with a female protagonist grossed on average $19 million more than male-led films (female led – $119 million, male led – $97 million). As Lucy and Expendables 3 fall in the company of the Hunger Games films and the majority of Angelina Jolie films since Tomb Raider we can only hope it will start a pattern. With studios less willing to take risks, they may e starting to listen to statistics in order to provide guaranteed results and if it’s confirmed that women draw in a bigger crowd, there is no need to fight it.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba

Rodriguez appears to be one of the few directors that enjoys casting women in demanding roles, along with pal Tarantino. Kill Bill Vol. 1 featured a strong female cast and went on to be a box office hit. The pair’s joint project Grindhouse/Planet Terror also featured many prominent female stars and didn’t fair too badly. In the past, some critics have condemned Sin City for its overt sexualisation of females and themes of misogyny, but you only need to look to the way many of these girls hold their own in their stories.

Perhaps, Rodriguez and Miller have made an avid attempt to change the audiences’ perspective, with Jessica Alba now playing less of a damsel in distress and developing into a fiercer and less tolerant Nancy. Rosario Dawson reprises her role as the lethally, seductive Gail, Leader of the Girls of Old Town.

Eva Green is one of many new additions to the cast, playing Ava Lord a vicious femme fatale and the dame the film’s title refers to. If you want to refresh your memory of the original before taking a trip to the cinema, Sin City will be showing on the Sony Movie Channel (Sky 323) from mid-October.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For now playing in cinemas across the UK. Warm up with the original, Sin City, showing on Sony Movie Channel on Saturday 18th October, 10pm.

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