Sucker Punch is a film directed by Zack Snyder the maker of the Watchmen and 300 and includes cast such as Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Jon Hamm, Abbie Cornish and Jenna Malone.
It is a tale mixed in metaphor and complicated theme structures throughout the film. It is about a girl who is sent to a mental asylum by her abusive father in which she descends into a fantasy world as a coping mechanism for the tragedy facing her in the mental facility. See the trailer below for a glimpse of the films style.
On the website IMDB the film scores a 6.1 out of 10 below most movies of its genre but is it deserving of this rating? Maybe, Maybe not…
I think one of the main problems with Sucker Punch is the way it was advertised and marketed through its trailers. The trailers show the movie to be some type of crazy action film about surviving and escaping the mental asylum in which the main character Baby Doll is placed.
Although the film does contain numerous action scenes throughout; the plot is a lot more complicated that a linear action film would typically be. It is not Transformers: Dark side of the moon (2011). But neither is the film anything oscar worthy or anything really innovative for its genre.
A lot of reviewers of the movie on sites like IMDB say that they didn’t understand it, or what was the point? While professional critics like from the Washington Post wrote “Director Zack Snyder and his production crew clearly had great fun envisioning this swords-and-corsets fantasy. Few others are likely to approach their level of enjoyment.” Most seem to focus purely on the action elements of the film but not really the metaphors and themes contained in those elements or what was really going on behind them. Sure they are over the top, they are sometimes very boyish and the movie is for teens, it’s not simple action scenes though.
The movie I think is best described not as a linear typical action film, but more like the dream world of Alice and Wonderland. Like Alice in Wonderland, the movie does have underlying themes for each dream sequence. Below is an interview with Zack Snyder. He talks about his ideas for the movie from casting, to story to themes.
The movie does have a great soundtrack to accompany it that fits the action scenes and the background fantasies quite well and is something that gives the movie a distinct feel to it. The whole soundtrack is available to be listened to on the films Youtube channel and is put below as well to sample.
With the characters it’s interesting to see at the end how and where people were placed in the real world and the imaginary world. One only wonders what was actually happening in the asylum during those scenes. At the end you see the burnt down area, the wounded patients and the chef. The high roller (Jon Hamm) who was supposed to be impressed in the fantasy is the doctor given the task to end someone’s mind through the lobotomy procedure. The imagination that the character Baby Doll (Emily Browning) had in her own mind now destroyed does show the potential and amazing capabilities of the human mind and how fragile it can be in the end. Both physically and through suggestion and experiences.
Overall the movie is worth seeing at least once especially if you like the genre or are a fan of these types of films. I think the movie will stand out over time as something that may have been misunderstood at the time of its release. Watching it is an interesting experience and one that if I were to describe the movie in one word I would say… “crazy”. But in a good way maybe I would add “interesting” after it.