on 1 December 2015
I love this film, sucker punch is a hard hitting film with a deep and powerful message to tell, have watched this over and over again and learn something new about it every time I watch it.
on 2 April 2016
This is a review of the Extended Cut Blu-ray edition of "Sucker Punch" directed and written by Zack Snyder. There is an extra 15 minutes or so, adding further depth of narrative to the film.
This is a very strange movie ... and not a film that everyone will enjoy. It is certainly a journey into surrealism, as allowed for by the powers of CGI. It involves layers of imagination, mostly involving videogame style settings and adventures. It is male fantasy manifested on screen - with semi-clad, highly erotic young beauties strutting their stuff for the viewers pleasure. The creativity that has gone into this film is huge! It's not about story, but about momentary fascination (a release from the real world).
Yet, there is an undercurrent of a plot. A young woman is incarcerated in a hell-hole of a mental institution, even though she's not actually insane. She decides to escape, and realises this will involve the help of other female inmates. Her ordeal is expressed in an imaginary setting - with the asylum replaced by a brothel-cum-theatre, in which she and a group of other young women are being held captive, forced to prostitute themselves. And within this imaginary setting, the main young woman - brilliantly acted by Emily Browning - has a series of fantasies ... and so we, the viewers, descend further into the nether regions of non-reality. Here we encounter the strange videogame settings: epic battles against other worldly foes (from zombies to dragons). In and through such fantasies, the women seek to undertake what's necessary to free themselves from the asylum.
Okay, it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's not meant to! This is about the trip, not the destination. We are here to enjoy the ride ... to observe these young beautiful women overcome adversity. It's a visual paradise, played out within a hellish nightmare.
If you are able to transcend reality, and recognise 'Sucker Punch' for what it is, I think you'll enjoy it. The sort of required mind-set may be expressed as follows: do you enjoy the Beatles' song "Tomorrow Never Knows"? If not, if it's too trippy for you, then you'll not enjoy this movie (which so happens to use this song). If you do like the song, and you happen to (a) like video games and (b) fancy young slim women, then I think you'll thoroughly enjoy the film.
The Blu-ray quality is excellent. Fantastic picture and sound. And a host of extra features.
It's a mental roller-costa of a movie. But, for a particular audience, it's an amazing film. For others, it might well be a load of nonsense.
on 9 April 2011
*** POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOLLOW ***
I'm making the focus of this review an explanation of what I believe (and others that have shared their thoughts with me) the story and film is about. I think alot of the issues negative reviews have is that it makes no sense, so hopefully what I've laid out here will help go some way to explaining it.
Like other, more constructive, reviews have already stated this film works on a number of levels. Not just the various layers of reality but also with layered meaning and symbolism. I you were expecting *just* an easy to watch straightfoward action film then you're going to be, well, sucker-punched. Why would anyone think this though - the trailers' all pretty much warned you to not expect that and the title definitely does. In fact there are multiple ways to interpret the title of the film beyond it just not being a straightforward action film. Here are a few points to consider regardin it:
* Baby Doll was not the protagonist (a fact she twigs on to at the end).
* She isn't even necessarily real - she's an 'Angel' created in the mind of Sweet Pea.
* Baby Doll's back story (her sister and situation) all describe, in part, the story of Sweet Pea's (as alluded to within certain scene's of the film).
* Let's also not forget that Sweet Pea was playing the role of Baby Doll in the first scene on the stage. The narrator all the way through the film is Sweet Pea. The fantasy bordello elements didn't actually start until we meet Sweet Pea.
So, I believe Sweet Pea is the reality of this film, and no-one else, and if you realise Sweet Pea is the focus of the film's story (and this may only occur on repeat viewings) then you pick up on a lot more *clues* as to what is really taking place in this film.
Right at the beginning of the film a curtain opens and Sweet Pea is telling the story of how she came to be in an asylum. In her retelling, it's a 50's style asylum. The doctor reminds her that she's in control of the story. The asylum of the film isn't actually real (it goes without saying that the bordello and action scenes are also fantasies) which explains the anachronisms of modern music combined with 50's style fashion and technology.
In order to recover, she needs to explore her issues. Sessions in which they're addressed are too traumatic, so she further escapes into outright fantasies (the action scenes). The shifts through the various layers of realities and the projection of other personalities are the way Sweet Pea explores her issues and works through them. Its a very clever way of representing isolation and dissociative behaviour to make them palatable and accessible to the average film-goer.
The film's plotline is basically about Sweet Pea's journey along the path of recovery, her "escape". So, the other girls are symbolic of this journey:
1) Baby Doll is a projection of Sweet Pea's guilt over not being able to save her sister. She has to let that go at the end to fully "escape".
2) Rocket is repesentative of Sweet Pea's sister. She *is* Sweet Pea's sister but the denouement as she lies in Sweet Pea's arms goes some way to healing her [Sweet Pea].
3) Blondie is a projection of Sweet Pea's self-doubt. Constantly unsure, she also seeks justification and forgiveness in the arms of various authority figures (ie, the doctor and Blue).
4) Amber is a projection of Sweet Pea's denial and mental resistance to what has occured and this is symbolised in the fact that she's always the pilot - there to pull Sweet Pea out of the fire if it gets too hot.
Along with the layers of reality, all these characters are used within the film as metaphors for Sweet Pea's self-healing. The other characters (the doctor, Blue, her father) all exist as antagonists to this process throughout these layers of reality.
It really is a gutsy (maybe even experimental) film, dealing with these kind of issues, but because its wrapped up in the guise of a comic book (along with its script, visuals, etc) people don't seem to be able to see it for what it is. Which is a pity. With this in mind, I find it amusing to read alot of the negative reviews - especially the people that state how badly, scripted/acted/directed the film is and then plead with us that it makes no sense. If such people actually had any perceptive qualities they'd understand what the film is about, and as they don't it kinda calls into question their ability to recognise what a good film *is*.
In this film Zack Snyder has attempted to deal with some really big issues that are extraordinarily difficult to explain or represent visually in any format, never mind as the type of 'moving graphic novel' style he's known for, and he's probably failed as most viewers simply don't get the film. For me though, I found this film demanding (in a good way) and it made me really think about what was taking place and what it was actually about. Only a second viewing really sorted it out in my mind.
I believe, this film is a rough diamond and confirms that Zack Snyder is a visionary film maker who's attention to visual composition is up there with other movie making greats. As with his other films, he also knows how to integrate a film's score/music into a scene and in Sucker Punch he's reached his zenith on this - the soundtrack really fits. Sucker Punch, when at is best, dances along like some crazed hybrid action movie/graphic novel/music video. And its awesome. When not doing this, it does lack pace and interest can wane - almost like coming down from a drug induced high. But, considering the context of the film, perhaps that's somewhat deliberate? ... Snyder's took a real risk with the driving force behind this film as well as its presentation, which is commendable. Sucker Punch is an imperfect work of art which doesn't really fall into the category of 'standard film making'; it attempts to use the medium and approach storytelling in a different and highly stylised way, and I really enjoyed those aspects of it in addition to the central conceit of the film with regards to uncovering and understanding the layers of reality and the symbolism of the characters.
Although the film is not perfect by any means or without its faults, I hope people give it more of a chance in the future.
on 20 September 2013
There are a lot of ways to describe this flick: surreal grindhouse, Gothic music video, video game movie, prison girl film, Heavy Metal meets LOTR etc. The movie for the most part was 5 stars. I didn't like the ending as they attempted to make a statement when none was needed. Baby Doll's mother dies. The step-dad was left out of the will so he kills Baby doll's sister and blames her during a goth version of "Sweet Dreams" (Annie Lennox). Baby Doll is committed to the Lennox asylum in Brattleboro, Vt. She is supposed to get a lobotomy in 5 days, during which she plans an escape.
The asylum has a stage where the girls perform. Baby Doll has a dance which mesmerizes people, a dance, we the audience never get to see. While Baby Doll dances she goes into a trance or dream world where she imagines she is battling all kinds of creatures (zombies, orcs etc). This is all done to a great soundtrack and computer graphics. In this aspect, the movie reminded me of "Heavy Metal", a series of stories loosely connected by a plot. This actually works well, unfortunately when the movie deviates from it, it doesn't work at all. During the first dance Baby Doll is told to get certain objects so she can escape. During her subsequent dances she entrances the males in the audience while her fellow inmates steal the item they need. The item they steal relates to the surreal imagination of Baby Doll.
No nudity, no sex, and the language was acceptable. Girls run around in short skirts with tight black hip boots. This is this generation's "Heavy Metal" movie, one that would be best watched on the big screen at a midnight showing
My lad and I really enjoyed Sucker Punch. We'd heard mixed reviews on it but you've just gotta see it for yourself and I'm glad we did!
It's basically the story of a girl who accidentally kills her sister (whilst trying to defend her)and ends up in an asylum, via the underhanded dealings of her stepfather she is in line for a lobotomy so she can't tell anybody about what's been going on with the horrible stepfather. That's it! But as she's about to have the procedure she immerses herself into an imaginary world which is what this movie is all about (in the main!).
As you can imagine (no pun intended) the stuff you could possibly dream up with your mind is amazing and what we are treated to here is absolutely brilliant in my opinion. Forget all the hidden meanings and psycho babble of each and every little scene and character and just sit back, crank your speakers or sound system up and enjoy the CGI fest and audio that will be blasted into your ever grateful ears folks because this movie does deliver great action scenes covering martial arts stylised fighting, guns, guns and more guns, Sci Fi, robots, giant samurai demons, steam punk german armies, orc like creatures and dragons accompanied by great audio and visuals!
As pure total and utter escapism I couldn't fault it, brilliant!
on 17 April 2016
Absolutely loved it. It had me hooked all the way through. Great soundtrack. Not a film I would have chosen but it was so glad I did
on 19 June 2015
A very good film, although in no way what I expected. Without trying to explain the plot, I would say think "The Bell Jar" meets ""Girl, Interrupted" meets "The Matrix", with a chunk of CGI creature bashing thrown in for good measure.
The soundtrack is brilliant and perfectly placed (Bjork was an inspired choice) and I don't, as a young woman myself, find the overtly sexual wardrobe of the actresses offensive at all. There is a point to their being dressed that way and I believe that once you understand what is really going on, the titillation is designed to increase your discomfort as a viewer: By seeing them as sexual objects, the audience becomes a part of the abuse. Never actually seeing Baby Doll dance only adds to this. I found myself thinking "I wish I could see the dance" only to realise (to my disgust) that I had been drawn into becoming like the womens' oppressors.
The story is a violent and tragic one and, unlike some, I personally think the acting was good and in places, excellent. If you are looking for meaningless action you probably won't find it here (unless you are really not paying attention). The film was far darker than I expected and I have no doubt that a second viewing will reveal further layers to think on.
So, will this movie make cinematic history? Possibly not, but it is certainly extraordinary and very, very clever. It is, perhaps, a little rough around the edges, narratively speaking and I agree with some other reviewers who have suggested that it would have been more powerful if the more sensitive and adult aspects of the story had been addressed properly, rather than tamed for a 12 Rated audience. My conclusion is that this is a fascinating, brave, and unique film that is really very good. It could have been genius if it hadn't worried so much about commercial appeal and pulled its (sucker) punches.
on 29 September 2013
Sucker Punch could be the quintessential example of style-over-substance; it isn't an empty film, but its narrative is clearly dictated by its visuals. A quick prologue sketches as much as we need to know about its heroine, Babydoll (Emily Browning), then delves into various layers of dream and fantasy, which kaleidoscopically parallel the primary plot thread.
Babydoll is framed for the murder of her little sister by their stepfather, and sent to a Dickensian madhouse where a corrupt overseer (Oscar Isaac) arranges her lobotomy. At this point, Babydoll escapes into a fantasy where she's a brothel's captive.
Various figures from her life take alter-egos: her stepfather is a priest who delivers her to the overseer, and an alternative therapist (Carla Gugino) from the madhouse becomes a kind of madam/dance coach. Her fellow captives are Jamie Chung, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical). More than this I won't explain, except to say that there's another layer of fantasy where the captives are mercenaries led by a Wise Man (Scott Glenn) through weird battles against dragons, zombies and robots.
Despite all this, Sucker Punch isn't plotless; by the end you realise that it does have a three-act structure and a story which, though having some loose ends (who is the Wise Man?), makes perfect sense. The problem is that the story and characters are minimally developed. Director/co-writer Zack Snyder clearly isn't big on character development, so uses simple archetypes and motivations.
Babydoll is strong-but-shy, Cornish is a jaded realist, Malone (her sister) is naive, and Chung and Hudgens are just background figures. This is very noticeable in the second layer of fantasy, which gives us amazing spectacles like undead German soldiers and Gothic castles, but still drags because we know it isn't that relevant to its sibling layers.
That said, Snyder is a gifted visual artist, and Sucker Punch really is a sumptuous eye-feast. In that sense it's comparable to some of Tim Burton's films, though Snyder still manages to give us more decent plotting and character than Burton has lately. Sucker Punch has within it ideas about how we perceive reality and relate to one another; it just needed a stronger screenwriter to fully realise these ideas.
Amusingly to me, the film has been accused of misogyny in how it portrays women as scantily-clad potential rape and/or murder victims. If anything, however, the film is misandric; every single male character, aside from the Wise Man, is a predatory psychopath, while the women are tough, determined survivors who love and will sacrifice themselves for each other.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Sucker Punch is a feminist fable. The women are sexualised, but sex doesn't equal hate. In products like this it equals commercialism. Thus, it's neither pro- nor anti-feminist, really, but doesn't need to be. It is what it is: a visually breathtaking action film.
on 10 May 2016
Great Comic too Film version. Very stylised, fab music choices and choreography.
on 25 April 2014
At first glance this seems a typical male orientated action movie - some very lovely ladies, crazy fight/battle sequences and explosions - and those aspects are certainly all present and accounted for!
However, it also has a very dark and emotionally stirring plot. At the end of the movie I sat thinking for a while, the finale was very bittersweet and touching. The last movie that left me feeling like this was "Leon" which was in some ways similar: over the top action yet grounded with a emotional and tragic thread.
It's also quite a surreal film - we are told the story through fantasy sequences, being left only to guess as to exactly how the "real" events occurred.
The soundtrack and Emily Browning's vocals are sublime and fit the movie perfectly.
Sucker Punch is in a league of its own and absolutely blows typical "male" movies such as Fast/Furious, Transformers, Expendables etc out of the water.
A great and refreshingly different action movie! Feels included.