[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B006GAP79M][/pullquote] Zack Synder is a director carving a name for himself in Hollywood. He started with the a remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004, which was surprisingly well handled considering the over-saturation of zombie films in recent years. His style has always been stylised and everyone of his films looks sumptuous and a bit like an Jean-Paul Gaulthier advert. Shadows are dark, colours are bright and everything has a slightly other-worldly glossy sheen to it. In 2011, his personal project Sucker Punch was released.
Sucker Punch sees Baby Doll (Emily Browning) admitted to a mental asylum by her abusive father after accidently shooting her younger sister. She is about to be given a lobotomy when she finds herself in an alternative reality, where she and other young women are forced to dance for ˜high-rollers.’ She is taught to dance by Gorski (Carla Gugino) and when she begins, she is transported to another alternative reality, where she is taught to fight by a mysterious wise man (Scott Glenn). She then hatches a plan through all realities to escape in order to live her life in freedom.
With Sucker Punch plot, it’s a little bit like Inception, but with all story-telling and skill removed from every aspect of the film-making process. Snyder’s stylised view is in full force and each ˜dance’ is basically a high-budget music video, with a cover of a famous song overlaid on the over-the-top action scenes with Baby Doll and crew fighting mechanised robots, evil Germans and dragons. These are the highlights of Sucker Punch and if they were used within the confines of a script that makes sense, they would’ve been thoroughly entertaining. Sadly everything is such a mess you’re never sure what to believe and in the end you choose to believe nothing.
Sucker Punch plays out like a morality tale, unfortunately the message is so vague and meaningless that even the most open-minded spiritualist would scoff at the pretention. Add this confused message to the overly-complicated plot with computer game achievements that need to be fulfilled before the action can move forward and you have a ridiculous mess of a film that teaches nothing and has no substance at all. The characters are two-dimensional and at no point do we, the audience, care about anything that’s happening to any of them.
So with a confusing and confused plot, non-existant character development, fake spiritual morality and an overall sense that whoever made this has no idea how to make anything other than a music video, you might think Sucker Punch is a terrible film. And you’d be right.