Sucker Punch Review
By Rich Cline
There are so many layers of fantasy in this eye-catching filmbut we never see any real humanity. This sucks all tension and emotion from what should be a provocative thriller. Although 12-year-old boys will probably love it.
After her mother dies, Babydoll (Browning) is sent to a gothic madhouse where a sinister orderly (Isaac) arranges, behind the back of the head doctor (Gugino), to have her lobotomised when the specialist (Hamm) arrives in five days.With less than a week to escape, she hatches a fantastical plan involving four fellow inmates (Cornish, Malone, Hudgens and Chung). They fantasise that they're on dangerous missions led by a mysterious man (Glenn), gathering the items they need to break out.
The base "reality" in this film is already hugely heightened, with desaturated colours and prowling camerawork. Then Babydoll arrives at the asylum, which morphs into a lurid, velvety brothel in which the mental patients are hookers who dance for wealthy clients. Finally, it's when Babydoll dances that she takes the other girls into action-adventure sequences semi-themed as a samurai battle, World War II aerial fight, dragon quest and futuristic terrorism plot.
But aside from the Moulin Rouge-like brothel scenes, everything looks gloomy and grey. And without internal logic or human connections, nothing hangs together. Why do the girls turn into Japanese schoolgirl gaming characters with supernatural fighting powers? Why don't we see Babydoll's apparently jaw-dropping dancing? Why does every sequence seem to go on twice as long as it needs to? Despite the loud, constant action, these pointless set-pieces are dull and tedious, like watching someone else play a videogame.
Director-cowriter Snyder is indulging what's essentially action porn, with fetishistic violence as the payoff instead of sex. This is most apparent in the girls' fetish gear, with micro-skirts slit to the waist, thigh-high stockings, bare midriffs and heaving cleavage. Pasted together from every movie Snyder has seen, it places imagined chaotic battles within a feverish boudoir fantasy populated by thugs who prey on girls. It shouldn't be difficult to generate some sympathy for young women trapped in this kind of place, but Snyder somehow prevents us from caring at all.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 25th March 2011
Box Office Worldwide: $89.8M
Production compaines: Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, Cruel & Unusual Films, Lennox House Films
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 155
Cast & Crew
Starring: Emily Browning as Baby Doll, Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea, Jena Malone as Rocket, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie, Jamie Chung as Amber, Carla Gugino as Madame Vera Gorski / Dr. Vera Gorski, Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones, Richard Cetrone as CJ, Jon Hamm as The Doctor / The High Roller, Scott Glenn as The Wise Man / The General / The Bus Driver, Gerard Plunkett as The Stepfather / The Priest, Malcolm Scott as The Cook, Ron Selmour as Danforth, Revard Dufresne as Big Boss Thug, Alan C. Peterson as Mayor / Lighter Orderly, Kelora Clingwall as Babydoll's Mother, Frederique De Raucourt as Babydoll's Sister, Monique Ganderton as Lobotomy Nurse / High Roller Girl #1, Lee Tomaschefski as Lobotomy Nurse / High Roller Girl #2, Eli Snyder as Tommy Soldier #1, Cainan Wiebe as Tommy Soldier #2, Danny Bristol as Tommy Soldier #3