Previews of this movie give the vague impression that a murder takes place, a cute and innocent bleach-blond girl named Baby Doll (played by Emily Browning, “The Uninvited”) is blamed and carted off to a mental institution, where she escapes to a fantastical world inside her mind in hopes of finding a way to escape. Along the way, she gets four other inmates to help her, and all five wear outfits straight out of a video game nerd’s wildest dreams, while fighting very video game-esque villains to reach their goals.
It doesn’t seem very thought provoking, does it? All this movie could possibly be about is drawing fanboys out of their man caves and making cash – right?
“Sucker Punch” is possibly one of the most complex and thoughtful movies to come to theaters so far this year. It is about tragedy, pain, controversy, sacrifice, finding your personal guardian angel and – most importantly – finding your inner strength and using it.
And the movie attempts to do all these things while utilizing a twisted and convoluted storyline that, at times, is nearly impossible to follow. But don’t worry, the creators meant to do that.
The death of Baby Doll’s mother at the beginning of the movie leads to the jealousy of her stepfather when he realizes that Baby Doll and her younger sister inherit everything, her sister’s death and Baby Doll’s admission into a mental institution after her stepfather blames her, is a wild blur and cycles through in about five minutes. Honestly, not much of it is even important, until Baby Doll first steps into the hospital. Then, despite the fast pace, the cinematographers make certain to draw the audience’s eyes to particular figures and items; they are important for understanding certain events in the movie later.
We learn that the stepfather bribes an orderly named Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) to forge the main therapist and the facility’s signature on a form recommending that Baby Doll be lobotomized, so that she can never go to the authorities with the truth or reclaim her inheritance. However, the facility doesn’t have a trained doctor to perform the procedure, but one has been commissioned to visit the asylum in five days. That is how long Baby Doll, and the inmate friends she makes, have to create and hatch their escape plan.
The acting in “Sucker Punch” was consistent, but not extraordinary. There isn’t anything terrible to note, but none of the leading ladies or gentlemen stuck out as brilliant either. On the plus side, the over-the-top acting style overall went well with the equally over-the-top cinematography and storyline.
One scene that does stand out as exceptional is the one in which Baby Doll recognizes the need to rise above her status as a scared girl and become a strong woman who fights to survive, and embraces it. It is when she first enters the fantasy world in her mind; a more visually striking and engaging scenario couldn’t have been devised.
There are two ways to watch “Sucker Punch.” First, you can watch it as an action packer with hot chicks and leave it at that. Or, you can look deeper and watch it as an exploratory piece that happens to have a lot of action and hot chicks in it. Either way, it satisfies.
Basically, see the movie, and when you leave the theater, consider seeing it again. You might notice something the second time that you didn’t the first.