Sucker Punch

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Sucker Punch - in cinemas 1st April 2011


I’m not a film blogger. Nor am I a reviewer, critic or whatever else they’re called these days. However, after being offered a ticket to a preview of the film “Sucker Punch”, I thought it only fair that I put in my two pence worth.

Sucker Punch is the latest directorial release from Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen). Not only is it directed by Snyder, it’s also written by Snyder – which would lead you to believe that if he wrote and directed the damn thing, this would be perfect in the eyes of more people than just his mother. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I’m not even sure his mother would agree that this was a productive use of his time. The story begins with an abused girl (aged 20, still living at home) who, after a series of unfortunate events, is admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the hands of her wicked step-father. After a quick tour of the facilities and brief introductions to most of the characters, reality stops and complete madness ensues. Apt, don’t you think?

In a bid to escape the harsh reality of the mental facility, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) creates an alternative world in which she and her new friends – Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung) – are burlesque dancers made to dance for their survival. If this wasn’t enough, in a bid to escape the harsh reality of being a glorified prostitute, Baby Doll creates several alternative worlds in which she and her new friends are warriors made to fight for their survival. Confused? Yup indeedy.

This all sounds very clever. And if you’re the director of a film such as Inception, this should actually be a piece of cake. But you’re not. And it isn’t. Instead, what we get is a mish-mash of RPG/Arcade-style fight sequences and softcore pornography (I dubbed these sequences as “Crotchfests” within 10 seconds of the first fight) which leave you with a headache and – if you’re a 13 year old boy – a semi. The graphics are very good, I’ll give them that. I don’t think they’re supposed to look real as it is a fantasy after all but some elements of this strange world are bordering on the ridiculous. Giant mechanical bunnies? Really? Even I giggled at that. And then there’s the wise man (Scott Glen) doing his best wise old Spock impression. If he had a link to someone in the real world, we’d all be much happier. But the jury’s still out there on his actual function.

Now, if this was a well carried out story, all of the things that are to follow wouldn’t have taken me the best part of a day to figure out. It seems that the intention was there but, for whatever reason, Snyder doesn’t go for it. He’s gone all-out on the fight scenes, interlacing them with the cold, hard scenes of reality but somewhere along the line he’s missed the point. He’s missed the point to such a degree that the audience don’t immediately get the bloody point. All I could see upon my fellow cinema-goers’ faces was confusion and bitter, BITTER disappointment.

So, here’s my take on it which took me all day to figure out. Bear in mind that this is just my interpretation. Others disagree, some just for the sake of disagreeing. Careful though – this might spoil it for you. Alternatively, it might just improve it:

  • The asylum is real, along with how she got there and her attempt to escape.
  • The point up until they sit her down for her frontal lobotomy is real (as is post-lobotomy)
  • All characters, with the exception of the Wise Man, exist in reality and fantasy. If you die in fantasyland, you’re dead in reality.
  • Rocket, in the fantasy, represents Baby Doll’s sister – destined to die due to the fact that her sister is also a gonner.
  • Sweet Pea, in the fantasy, represents Baby Doll (or at least her mind). Hence why, when the film ends and Baby Doll gets her frontal lobotomy, Sweet Pea is freed. Geddit?
  • Amber and Blondie are just tools to help the fantasy along. They die because we don’t know them and they’re weak. And it wouldn’t be Hollywood if the Ethnic minorities didn’t die (did I just say that??)

Sucker Punch is out in UK cinemas on the 1st April 2011