Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Sucker Punch" (2011) - Movie Review

Zack Snyder should be a video game designer than making “Sucker Punch” a hollow non-emotional film existing under the false pretenses of fantasy that fails to connect miserably with its audience. It has the glorious visual design of Snyder who won my heart despite the cliched and senseless violence in “300” and mistimed a miniseries to be a long film in “Watchmen” and now comes very short in settling for a low blow. He goes with the whole free the mind and invite imagination to the nook and corner of our brain and expects miracles as that he did from his special effects.

Many have tried and failed in providing the modern black and white outlook with tints of colour in the current cinema. Even the talented Steven Soderbergh could not invoke a life in “The Good German” and Snyder begins the film in this mode. Emily Browning plays Baby Doll that young actor from one of my favourite films “Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events” is still a young girl with naive looks and bleached blonde hair. She steps wrong again in this role after “The Uninvited”. She is sent wrongfully to an insane asylum by her step father after her mother’s death to be lobotomized so that the bad man could have all the wealth.

In comes the asylum creeping with neatly dressed orderlies and crazy girls lurking around to attack. In that is Carlo Gugino in another thankless role with a distracting and annoying accent as Dr. Gorski. And poof - Baby Doll is in the midst of a brothel run by the creepy orderly now manifested as the cruel and deadly boss of this place. The crazy girls are still crazy in a way and are gearing up for their dance numbers under their show coach with the stupid accent, yes, Gorski again. When she is asked to dance she stands still and as the formula of second attempts awing the crowd suddenly everyone glares in surprise and we never get to see Baby Doll’s dance because poof! she is transformed into this digital world of feudal Japan, World War - II battle zone and a train destined to destroy Gotham City, or something like that. If you think this is about the confusion, it isn’t. It is more about the denial to the audience in learning anything at all about Baby Doll and her crew.

“Sucker Punch” as Snyder’s previous films is made to be watched in a theater. I appreciate the man for that who uses the medium and recommends people to watch it in the way it is supposed to be seen. “300” or “Watchmen” in a TV screen as a first viewing would have been cruel and disgrace to the makers of those films. Snyder’s this film is the same but the charm and mind blowing experience of visual extravaganza is shoddy, unclear, loud and soon becomes obnoxious as we are not driven for these girls to complete their “goals”.

Baby Doll is deeply disturbed by the life’s events that has led her to end up in this particular place Snyder has created. Her mother’s death followed by the accidental death of her sister are good enough to get caving sympathy for this young girl. The world’s Baby Doll transforms does not reflect her character. That is one of my many attempts to read her mind. The threatening world she escapes from which most of the tenure of the film is the brothel does not pose a grave danger as the girls talk. Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung are attractive girls running around sexy and that is all Snyder shows about them. The scary boss Blue (Oscar Isaac) is not scary enough nor charming enough for these girls or Gorski to follow his regime’s orders.

Baby Doll through her mystic dance transforming technique to dissolve into this magical fantasy world gets some bullshit one liners from actor Scott Glenn who always has this one last thing to say (sigh) and horrible will be a light word to describe every one of those mistimed, misfired and moronic dialogues. If a teenage girl’s imagination is so bad than it is an insult to the upcoming and wonderful talents in the current generation.

The end which opens up the twists that should create immense amount of sympathy towards Baby Doll would have worked tremendously if we would have known her a little bit in the dangling minds she takes us through. Instead we have a distant misplaced feeling of a girl trapped in this film unable to get out and facing lobotomy as her only choice. Zack Snyder not alone misses this grandeur film but also has convinced himself of the complacency in running digital world over emotional reality as a killer strike.

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