Sucker Punch, 2011
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Sucker punch is a film by Zack Snyder, starring Emily Browning, and Oscar Isaac as the main antagonist- a role in which he outdoes himself. Browning's Babydoll (sometimes referred to as simply "Baby") finds herself forced into an odd mental institution after attacking her stepfather, upon him being violent towards herself and her younger sister. Baby accidentally kills her sister during this attack. Her stepfather labels her insane to cover his own contribution to her outburst, and ships her off.
At this strange asylum, Baby makes four friends- namely Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens). And it is with these girls that she formulates an escape plan. Baby establishes that they need to collect five weapons to escape, and that each of them is going to have to do their part. These missions unfold with Baby closing her eyes, in a dancing trance, and transporting us to the alternate fantasy scenes where herself and her team complete said missions through battling all sorts of monsters.
From the opening of the film we're reminded of the intensity and the rawness that we're about to encounter within the rest of the film. It opens with the camera stalking a smallframed girl with pigtails (Baby) from behind, and then proceeds to reel in a slow-motion montage of crude and violent scenes ranging from attempted rape to someone being shot dead.
The Dark colours, not foreign to Snyder's catalogue, blend in well with the cult-like theme that the film aspires to from the beginning. The haunting narration does a good job in involving the audience in whatever it is that is about to unravel in the next two hours. Snyder shows off his distinctive directorial muscle from the get-go, and only enhances on it as the film progresses.
Sucker Punch is a 90s sci-fi, fantasy and war (and steampunk) film that draws inspiration from multiple films within these genres. From Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings to The Matrix and Saving Private Ryan. I was shocked to find that there were no vampires in sight, but we sure get our fair share of dragon slaying, robot punch-outs, and samarai show-downs. This third world that is created comes off as a video-game controlled by a very spirited somebody- whom I personally took as a higher self that has managed to trascend to a dimension of no boundries, and can manipulate their imagination and abilities to their full capacity at will.
The costume design, I personally feel, is one of the best I've seen on screen, which is random for a film of this sort. The first fantasy/simulation battle scene takes place at a bordelo, where Baby is confronted by samarai-like creatures who are about five times as large as she is, and spot very cool head-gear.
The second battle scenes takes place at a warzone, and here we're introduced to a warfront that puts even Apocalypse Now to shame, which is also utterly random while at the same time intriguing. There is scene where Baby strides towards a soldier that's shooting at her, while calmly and swiftly deflecting the bullets with her sword, that is particularly fantastic. Such scenes up the film's re-watch value and, believe me, there are plenty of these.
The choreography introduced into the show-down between the girls and the robots is impeccable, I mean it! This film brings a new taste to action and adventure, while setting new standards at once. It's truly genre-shifting, while also standing its ground in what it is here to do- no matter how many people won't comprehend it, and will then proceed to vilify and ambush it for that very miguided fact.
In the beginning, Baby's spiritual advisor in the fantasy world advised her that she'd have to make a great sacrifice, and throughout the film we're kept on the edge of our seats wondering what the sacrifice could be. The story, towards the end, is then perfectly tied in with these simple words by Baby to one of the girls who has been by here side throughout: "This was never my story, it's yours, now don't screw it up, okay?" Realising that she is the sacrifice. And it is here, that we find that even with the "disconnect" from the real world, given the high-fantasy, this is still a human story involving human issues.
The narrator goes on to give us a chilling closing with:
"Who sends monsters to kill us, but at the same time sings that we'll never die?"
"It's you, you have all the weapons you need. Now, fight!"
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