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View Full Version : Movie: Sucker Punch (spoilers)



Glom
2011-Apr-06, 11:15 AM
I hadn't heard about this movie until I saw it reviewed on Half in the Bag. I took their advice and did the opposite. Well, the clips they showed made it look kinda cool and they did acknowledge it had good visuals as you'd expect from Snyder. I also thought from the clips that the Wise Man was Spock, although it turned out to be Al Shepard. Either way, they both look like death warmed over these days.

Well I didn't think this movie sucked. I rather enjoyed it. However, all the criticisms that were levied at it were pretty much true. Expectations management may have had something to do with that though.

Basic plot: Set in a kind 50s era, but with iPod headphones for some reason, Baby Doll is sectioned after she accidentally kills her younger sister while protecting her from their abusive step father. She is due to be lobotomised in 5 days and must escape from there. However, most of the movie takes place in a metaphor. Instead of the nut house, Baby Doll fantasises that she is actually in forced servitude in some kind of Burlesque House and she must escape within five days before the High Roller comes to take make use of her. With some coaching of the dance instructor (who is actually the psychiatrist at the asylum), Baby Doll learns to summon her inner power of the erotic dance. We never actually see this dance that is so mesmerising it all but hypnotises the men watching it, because whenever she is doing it, we move into a fantasy within a fantasy which generally involves Baby Doll and her fellow prisoners being super human Valkyries taking names while in heels.

The first of these dance sequences, Baby Doll learns from Al Shepard she needs five items to escape, the last of which is a mystery item. The other sequences are metaphors for the girls stealing these items one by one, while Baby Doll uses her dance to distract the men. Their heists aren't that smart because the dispicable boss of the Burlesque House (actually an orderly in the asylum) catches on and confronts them after the first two. The third heist, stealing a knife from the obese and abusive cook, seemingly fails because the radio Baby Doll was using for the music shorts out due to bad wiring coming into contact with spilled water. This leads to Rocket, one of the other girls, being stabbed and killed by the cook. Her older sister, Sweet Pea, who had repeatedly tried to put the brakes on the plan as being too dangerous, is then stuck in solitary.

Blondie (so named because she wears a black wig) confesses everything to shrink, who is always looking out for the girls, but this is overheard by the boss. He stamps his authority on the girls by executing two of them leaving only Baby Doll and Sweet Pea, who's still in solitary. The boss then tries to rape Baby Doll, but somehow she got a knife, which she uses to stab him in the neck and then take his key, which is the last item they need. She gets Sweet Pea and they try to escape according to the plan.

However, once they get outside, there is a large impenetrable crowd. Baby Doll then realises the fifth mystery item was herself and that she needs to sacrifice herself to allow Sweet Pea to escape, which is how it turns out.

Baby Doll is recaptured and then we cut back to the asylum reality where she gets lobotomised. The psychiatrist then realises that this procedure only went ahead because her signature was forged by the orderly who, with a big wound on his neck, is now try to have his way with the vegetative Baby Doll. The shrink gets the place to haul the orderly away. Sweet Pea in the mean time is free and on her way home and that makes it a happy ending... kinda.

The main criticism of this movie centered around the dance sequences, while cool looking, being incredibly dumb and pointless and interrupting the story, which would have otherwise been more engaging. I would sympathise with this. Knowing these sequences were coming, I felt a sense of anxiety that the story, which I was initially engaged in, was about to be interrupted but this decadence. In the dance sequences, the girls are super human fighters, who shrug off attacks that would kill anyone normally. Of course, these are fantasies; fighting literally as a metaphor for the figurative fighting for their freedom they are doing. But if the fantasies are that detached from reality, it is hard to find the tension in it. They did look cool though, especially the space train one.

I also didn't like the twist resolution where Baby Doll sacrifices herself to save Sweet Pea. I didn't feel that movie had built up to that, nor gotten us sufficiently invested in Sweet Pea for us to be happy about her survival over Baby Doll's.

I think the movie would have worked better without the diversion of the dance sequences. But I also think that just showing them stealing a lighter or a map would have been lame too. Something perhaps a little more low key might have worked better. Snyder overegged it IMO.

CJSF
2011-Apr-06, 11:47 AM
I have no desire to see this movie, Glom, but I feel you should have announced you were giving spoilers. Perhaps the mods could include that in the title?

CJSF

ToSeek
2011-Apr-06, 04:03 PM
I have no desire to see this movie, Glom, but I feel you should have announced you were giving spoilers. Perhaps the mods could include that in the title?

CJSF

Done.

CJSF
2011-Apr-06, 04:51 PM
Thank you, ToSeek. I had read an article about this movie, and the director tried to explain that he wasn't exploiting young girls, but rather trying to turn that idea around and spotlight how girls ARE exploited (or some pseudo-artistic rationalization). Glom, you've seen the movie; did you find it exploitive?

CJSF

Glom
2011-Apr-07, 06:34 AM
Thank you, ToSeek. I had read an article about this movie, and the director tried to explain that he wasn't exploiting young girls, but rather trying to turn that idea around and spotlight how girls ARE exploited (or some pseudo-artistic rationalization). Glom, you've seen the movie; did you find it exploitive?

CJSF

Hell yeah! Let's see:

Very hot girls often scantily clad... check.
Our heroine's special power is to do a dance so seductive it hypnotises men... check.
Babes in leather with weapons... check.

Jim
2011-Apr-07, 07:48 PM
Thank you, ToSeek. I had read an article about this movie, and the director tried to explain that he wasn't exploiting young girls, but rather trying to turn that idea around and spotlight how girls ARE exploited (or some pseudo-artistic rationalization). Glom, you've seen the movie; did you find it exploitive?


... yeah! ...

As I said before:


... The director gave a recent interview in which he ... said that Babydoll's extremely short miniskirt made it possible to see her undies. Realizing this, and not wanting to exploit it for the titillation factor, they made them black instead of white so they wouldn't be so noticeable.

So there!

JIC, ;)

pzkpfw
2012-Jun-12, 09:10 PM
...

I also didn't like the twist resolution where Baby Doll sacrifices herself to save Sweet Pea. I didn't feel that movie had built up to that, nor gotten us sufficiently invested in Sweet Pea for us to be happy about her survival over Baby Doll's.

I think the movie would have worked better without the diversion of the dance sequences. But I also think that just showing them stealing a lighter or a map would have been lame too. Something perhaps a little more low key might have worked better. Snyder overegged it IMO.

Finally saw this, and can't agree more.

So little time was spent initially in the outer reality, that I found no reason to care what happened in the first layer of fantasy (especially knowing it was fantasy). The inner layer of fantasy looked good, but was then utterly pointless.

For a film with such action in it, it felt very slow.

It looked good (not just the actors and their costumes) but it seems all to waste.

peter eldergill
2012-Jun-13, 12:49 AM
I don't often switch off movies midway, but I didn't make it through more than 20 minutes of that film.

(I also didn't make it through more than 30 minutes of "The Road", but that was for other reasons...having a very young son of my own)

Pete

Van Rijn
2012-Jun-13, 08:40 AM
So little time was spent initially in the outer reality, that I found no reason to care what happened in the first layer of fantasy (especially knowing it was fantasy).


My impression was that they weren't making it very clear if there was any outer reality, with, for instance, the wise man showing up as a bus driver in "reality."


The inner layer of fantasy looked good, but was then utterly pointless.


That's a pretty common issue with the "Is it all a dream?" movies, though. I rented this as a bluray from Netflix, with no expectations. There were bits I fast forwarded on, and I wouldn't call it a good movie by any stretch, but the ultra fantasy scenes were interesting to see. Really the only thing that kept me watching.