Movie Review #695
This review is dedicated to Casey, who pointed out to me that when German was spoken in Sucker Punch, only the infinitive verbs were used.
Warner Bros. presents…
…in association with Legendary Pictures…
Cruel and Unusual
Lennox House Films
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Country: USA – Canada
Spoken Languages: English – German
Directed by Zack Snyder. Produced by Deborah Snyder and Zack Snyder. Screenplay by Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya. Story by Zack Snyder.
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA — mature themes, sexual content, violence, profanity (extended cut rated R). Runs 1 hour, 50 minutes (extended cut runs 17 minutes longer). Wide release in the USA and Canada on March 25, 2011.
Starring Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone Vanessa Hudgens, and Jamie Chung. Also starring Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn, Richard Cetrone, and Gerard Plunkett. Featuring a credited cameo appearance by Eli Snyder; and uncredited cameo appearances by Cara Hrdlitschka and Teya Wild as brothel girls.
“Sucker Punch” is neither a rock-solid movie nor a classifiably bad movie. It’s less than enough to say that at the core, this is an über-fun movie. Zack Snyder is here to make nothing more than a guilty pleasure. (You might say that he always is, but that’s a dispute we’ll save for later.) His movie should be an artifact of plagiarism, with its obvious cross between Tarantino’s revengelore (“Kill Bill”, “Inglourious Basterds”) and every commercial video game from Call of Duty to Mortal Kombat. But it’s not an artifact of plagiarism at all, because Snyder has something to add.
Following his successful compilation that was “Watchmen”, Zack Snyder has brought back great music, recreated specifically for the form of his picture. Actress Emily Browning’s cover of the Eurythmics’s “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” opens the movie like a five-minute prologue, or an establishing music video. A cover of the Pixies’s “Where Is My Mind?” (widely associated with “Fight Club”) marks the excitement, leading up to a cover of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Dies” in the climax. I’m positive there would be no movie if no soundtrack. Every song fits, is perfectly timed, and makes the movie that much more fun.
But with all the precise music cues and CGI in this film, and with all the extensive action sequences, you’d never guess there’s a story. It’s a pretty interesting story if I’m to be honest. Seconds before being lobotomized, a young woman relives her recent memory one last time: a impossible nightmare in which she fights a few powerful, sexist pigs in an effort to free both her and a handful of other female mental patients. What makes the approach work is it has our attention the whole time. I was so engrossed, I didn’t notice some of the most ridiculous “what” factors of the film. Thanks to an anonymous friend, having revisited “Sucker Punch” for his fourth time, who pointed out to me that these characters were temporarily in a medieval setting with machine guns.
Outside of action sequences, or that terrific opening, the movie’s power tends to lack. I’m fine with the logiclessness of the movie. I love the logiclessness of the movie. But things are only good to a point. Here and there, things went unexplained and I was left confused. Why are these girls in a mental asylum when they seem perfectly sane? Is this to say that the men who sent them there were just sexists, and that it wasn’t just the boss they worked for, a more brooding reimagination of Dr. Frank-N-Furter? This whole movie was made on the grounds that these are beautiful women; you can’t have just anybody in these roles for a reason, and it certainly isn’t acting ability. But what sexist could resist them, particularly to the idea of a mental asylum? Did they get there the R. P. McMurphy way, and expect it to be all fun and games?
I’ve gotta say, for a movie with zero character development, “Sucker Punch” has a mighty nice fist to gaze at. Let me slightly overanalyze the title. It doesn’t suck, but it does deliver an exuberant, well-rounded punch.
SUCKER PUNCH IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD.
Hit the jump for an announcement regarding the 2nd Annual Cinemaniac Awards:
Cate Blanchett has won 2014’s Cinemaniac Award for Best Actress of the Year, for her performance in Blue Jasmine. It’s great enough that Woody Allen did some strong writing for this character, but Blanchett blew her sky-high. Try not choking on your laughter as she spends several minutes detailing her absurd, long medical history to a couple of eight-year-olds. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s announcement for Best Director.