After checking the review sites that I frequent, it seems that a lot of people didn't like Zack Snynder's new film, Sucker Punch. I happened to see it yesterday after work, so I thought I'd drop my opinion on the vast sea that we call the internet.
I LOVED SUCKER PUNCH.
Most of you that know me would probably assume as much, with the movie about strong women fighting their way to freedom with guns, swords, mechs, dragons and cool techno soundtracks. Yeah, it had all that, it had a great visual style, but what I liked most about it was that it broke out of the mold. We've seen so many movies in the past ten years that have taken individuals and given them superhuman abilities in a hyperreal setting. Since the Matrix did it in 1999, audiences across the country have eaten up the over the top visual style, bright colors and impossible acrobatics and choreography like hotcakes. (Note: Who actually eats hotcakes these days?). Not only did Snyder take this visual style and turn the dial up to 11, but he helped us to care about the characters. We want to see them succeed, because their current situation is so horrible.
None of them have a bad performance, per se. Quite the opposite actually, as they were all enjoyable to watch, but it seems the big guns were actually none of the principle characters. One strange edition was the Wise Man, played by Scott Glen. The Wise Man is the one who first gives Baby Doll her the weapons and the knowledge that she needs in order to escape. Before each mission, he explains to the group what they need to do to accomplish each task, ending with his catch phrase, "..oh, and one more thing..." followed by whatever twist the girls have to somehow find a way of overcoming. Of all the characters, The Wise Man was, in my opinion the most underused, as he was a character with obviously a strong backstory that was never told, yet stole each scene in which he was featured.
Besides the beautiful sets, visceral choreography and over the top action, the soundtrack was fantastic and features mostly of covers of originals such as Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These), Army of Me, We Will Rock You, Search and Destroy, Where is My Mind and more. These adaptations are infused with a gritty techno electronic tone, perfectly mirroring the chaotic nature of each scene. They're dark, moody, maybe a bit emo, and they definitely quicken the pulse. With artists such as Bjork, Skunk Anansie and Yoav (featuring Emily Browning, the actor playing Baby Doll), they really couldn't go wrong.
So what else did I like about the film? For one, the entire first act is filmed as a music video with extremely little dialogue. One thing that I read about film making was to show the audience the story, not tell it to them. Snyder pulled this off brilliantly by having us experience the moment of Baby Doll's mother's death, the terror she feels for her (most likely sexually) abusive stepfather, the
accidental death of her sister, and eventual imprisonment in the asylum. Many reviewers have found this to distract from the overall movie, and some have even called it a cop out, claiming that it was only used as a prologue, and not properly explored. On the contrary, I thought this was an imaginative and pretty gutsy way to bring the audience into the story, especially because so much of the movie focuses on the score, which was the only thing playing at this time in the movie.
Many are going to watch this movie in the theater, or on DVD in a few months and discount it as a cool, flashy yet easily forgettable action movie starring some very attractive protagonists. I think that those people are missing out on a very original take on the exploration of one girl's very loose grip on the reality of her situation. Package that with the thrilling action pieces (the train scene was one of my favorite shots in the entire movie) and a soundtrack that will be blaring through my headphones for a while to come and you have a satisfying break away from typical Hollywood that was a breath of fresh air.