SUCKER PUNCH (12A)
Directed by Zach Snyder
Sucker Punch is a very stylised action-slash-fantasy movie portraying a young girl (played by Emily Blunt) who has been forced into a mental institution by her stepfather following her sister’s accidental death. It is here that the film’s heroine dives heads-first into fantasy and adventure in order to ultimately escape her lobotomy destiny.
Throughout the film we see highly sexualised young women, who are depicted as commodities to benefit men, and we see that there is very much a traditional patriarchal system in play here. However at the same time, the heroines are fully aware of this objectification and take advantage of this for their own survival. The general portrayal of men are often shown as seedy and grasping, despite the fact that they seem to hold the cards in the institution. However this is not a film that focuses on the women’s emotions and the subtly hidden abuse, it is about women taking control despite their imprisonment.
The general effect of the film is very video-game like, and feels as if you are watching someone play a very sophisticated computer game – but this does not mean that this is not an enjoyable watch. This would appear very much a ‘boys’ film, with guns, explosions and beautiful women in scantily clad outfits who have suddenly acquired expert fighting skills, which very much epitomises the general male fantasy being played out.
The names given to the main characters – Babydoll, Blondie, Rocket, Sweetpea and Amber – are in fact very feminine and patronising, and we never do really find out their real names. Even Babydoll has few lines throughout the movie, and speaks very little, therefore her character is built through her expressions and her actions such as her ability to fight.
There are various alternative realities (or rather, fantasies) used throughout as methods of excape. With various scenes of a brothel, mental institution, theatre not to mention the actual fight scenes that play out whenever Babydoll begins to dances. This is really an interesting interpretation of mental illness or breakdown, as well as the exploration of the human mind and its coping mechanisms. The ‘adventures’ that Babydoll fantasises about are all very much quest-like and has reminisces of other scenes from other films. In one scene, for example, in which the girls must defeat a dragon, I was reminded of setting of Mordor, and Orcs from Lord Of The Rings. Similarly, the android robots fantasy gave off a feeling of ‘I, Robot’ and ‘Terminator’. That is not to say that Snyder has copied these ideas but rather has created the general feeling of the ‘adventures’ being a bit too manufactured and neatly imagined. Accordingly, even the colour scheme reflects the unrealness of the scenes, at times it is sedated to reflect the general grim mood of movie, yet becomes alive with colour and special effects during the actions and adventure scenes.
The soundtrack throughout the film is very fast-paced, but also very likeable. With ‘Tainted Love’ being incorporated to blast open the movie, to ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Love Is the Drug’ to accompany slick moves and fight scenes. The film is rife with dramatic one-liners such as “Your survival begins here” and “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”. The main issue here is not to take this film too seriously. This movie is very aesthetically pleasing, with beautiful scenes, women, costumes – and the focus is on this, rather than the emotional side. If you’re interested in cleverly shot video-game-like movies, then this is one to watch, complete with burlesque-clad mercenaries throughout.