Sucker Punch Theatrical Review
Sucker Punch is a film about the power of freedom and one girl's mission to attain that goal through the power of her own will. The film is directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and this film bears his signature mark just like those previous ones. What makes this film different is that it is a unique story rather than like his two previous films where he was borrowing from history or literature.
The movie stars Emily Browning as Baby Doll, we never know her as any other name, and it opens with the death of her mother. Told through a series of sequences we learn that her mother has just passed away and that leaves her and her sister in the hands of their perverted step-father. In an attempt to stop him from getting to her sister, Baby Doll picks up a gun and inadvertently kills her sister. Her step-father uses this as leverage to get her thrown into an institution for the criminally insane. There he makes arrangements to have her lobotomized so that he can get his hands on the family money.
As she is being brought through the institution we watch as she takes in key elements from her surroundings which later become the means of her escape. On the day of her procedure, as she is being placed into the chair her mind does the only thing it knows how to, it retreats into a world that she can understand and find her own means of escape from. There she enters a world of sleazy men who use women as a means to make money for themselves. Browning is now going by the name of Baby Doll and she is the latest arrival to the brothel. Some of the other girls help her get adjusted, Rocket (Jena Malone) being the first to approach her.
Unbeknownst to the girls and everyone else who works there Baby Doll has a special talent. When music begins to play her mind transports her into a realm where she is the heroine of her own story and she can fight her way out of any situation. To go into lengthy detail about what occurs and how she accomplishes gaining her freedom would be too difficult to explain. Suffice it to say there are some phenomenal battle sequences that ensue. To give you an example of what Baby Doll and her new friends are up against; in one sequence they are fighting on the battle lines during World War 1, clad in leather, armed with machine guns and Japanese swords all while battling dead German soldiers who have been reanimated through the use of steam engineering.
To say these sequences are unique and fun to watch would be a huge understatement. What Snyder is really trying to say here is that there are 3 realities we deal with in life. The first is the one that we all live in and it's the one we wish wasn't true. The second deals with the reality in our mind, where we imagine a different life, similar is some respects to the one we live but one we can visualize an escape from. The third is where we envision ourselves as we wish to be, strong, brave, invincible and able to fight our way out of any situation. These are the realities that Baby Doll deals with in the film. The first is one of abuse and heart break, the second is where she has friends to help her make it through and the last where she envisions herself fighting alongside her friends as a warrior smiting her enemies.
Throughout this tale there are familiar elements that everyone can relate to, entrapment, loss, abuse, heart break, loneliness, friendship, love, and victory. What the film is trying to convey to the audience is that we possess within ourselves the tools to fashion our own reality the way we wish it to be and the only thing keeping us from succeeding is ourselves. At its core Sucker Punch is your standard action film and it more than delivers on that. What sets it apart is the underlying theme throughout the film and that's what makes this movie a truly different experience.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 120 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
About Chris Rebholz
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