7 November 2003 | lavatch
Rhames and Oldman in Duel
Much of the film content of "Sin" is excessively violent and unpleasant. The screenwriters have also shamelessly recycled one of the classic screen thriller moments from the hall of mirrors scene in "The Lady From Shanghai." And was it not possible to come up with a more imaginative title than "Sin"? Yet there is one compelling reason to see this movie, and that is for the performances of Ving Rhames and Gary Oldman.
In the same way that the film "Heat" established a dynamic duel between Al Pacino's detective and Robert DeNiro's thief, the most interesting scenes in "Sin" are those that bring together the ex-cop (Rhames) and the sleazy drug lord (Oldman). The plot concerns the maniacal acts perpetrated by Oldman's character, who is pursued by Rhames' character, the former cop who lost part of his arm and all of his idealism after a shady police arrest and illegal interrogation of an alleged cop-killer.
There is one riveting moment when in the middle of an action scene, the characters discourse on the topic of conscience. In this conversation, our perception of both Rhames' and Oldman's characters change when we realize that one of the characters is totally without conscience and the other has been driven by the human emotion of guilt. But this moment remains buried among predictable and even cliched action scenes piled one on top of another.
If the film could have just focused on the internal development of the two principal characters, eliminating the violent action sequences, it would have been more watchable and more memorable. There is something special about these two exceptional actors, however, that enables Rhames and Oldman to rise above the material.